Los Angeles Serious Drought Sign
 Morning traffic makes its way toward downtown Los Angeles along the Hollywood Freeway, past an electronic sign warning of severe drought. California Gov. Jerry Brown introduced the state’s first mandatory water reduction measure this week last week.

California Governor Jerry Brown has placed mandatory water-usage reductions for the state of California in an executive order signed April 1st, 2015. This is the first time in the state’s history that such restrictions have been placed, as the 4-year drought has now hit never-before-seen proportions. Record low snowfall this past winter places the state in a near-crisis situation. Ski Resort

The State Water Resources Control Board has been directed by the executive order to enforce the water supply agencies in the state to reduce water usage by 25% over the next year. These agencies provide water for about 90% of residents. The water agencies will be responsible for setting the restrictions, as well as monitoring and compliance.

Homeowners, farms, and other businesses alike will be affected across the board. According to Governor Brown, a vast amount of water is wasted by Californians by excessive showering, washing cars, and most especially, watering lawns – which alone constitutes as much as 60% of annual household water usage in the state. He states that it is now a “new era.”

Folsom Lake Before After
Folsom Lake – 2011 vs. 2014

On the other hand, owners of large farms will not fall under the 25% reduction requirement. Officials have analyzed that these farms already have cut back their water use, and they obtain water from sources outside of the local water agencies. However, as required by the executive order, the large farms must create detailed reports breaking down their water use, which will serve as a way to note any water waste.

State officials are prepared to enforce measures such as fines to make sure state residents remain compliant.

An awareness campaign became more aggressive last year after another dry winter. In August of last year, The Daily Currant posted a story headlined “California Fining ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Participants for Wasting Water,” which made its way through social media and was picked up by various outlets before some realized the story was satirical.

Ice Bucket Challenge criticized as wasteful during California drought.
Ice Bucket Challenge criticized as wasteful during California drought.

By Monday of the following week, people were using the #droughtshaming hashtag on Twitter to criticize the Ice Bucket Challenge as wasteful. A Long Beach Post story performed some quick calculations and concluded that “nearly 19,000 homes’ daily water usage has been wasted.”

“Let’s do another Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money & awareness for the California Drought. #IceBucketChallenge #droughtshaming #irony,” one twitter user said Monday.

See the executive order here.

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