California is facing severe drought conditions. Not only is the Golden State looking at an “exceptional” drought situation, but a fine of up to $500 may be levied if residents are found wasting water. However, if residents cut back on watering their lawn to conserve water, their city may fine them up to $500 after 60 days for not keeping their lawn in “a healthy green condition.” Severe drought conditions are confusing Californians over conservation practices because residents are expected to reduce water usage, but must keep their property values up by maintaining green lawns.
The drought is so severe in California that Washington D.C. has given the state $9.7 million in relief due to the “highest category” type of drought taking place this year, which is “exceptional” according to a report in The Desert Sun. The U.S. Agriculture Department stated about 73,000 residents in 11 counties will get assistance for wells or other water resources which have dried up. The funds will help these sources connect from other main sources of water.
California, Oklahoma and Texas have been reported as facing drought conditions since 2010, but water users might be unaware of how serious the situation is for California. A report by The Los Angeles Times stated a U.S. Drought Monitor Map shows 81 percent of the state is in an “extreme drought.” This percentage is up from a report of 68 percent taken just three months ago. The report in The Los Angeles Times includes a slideshow of pictures containing popular lakes and water reservoirs which show severe decline of water levels. In fact, Californians are facing fines up to $500 if caught wasting water due to adopted “emergency drought plans.”
While all of California is facing severe drought conditions, others are reportedly getting fined for choosing not to water their lawn. According to a report by FOX News, a couple in Los Angeles received a notice from the City of Glendora stating they are required to keep a healthy-looking green lawn despite extreme drought conditions. Laura Whitney and Michael Korte are one of many residents receiving notices of violating landscaping requirements to “preserve attractive neighborhoods” as stated in a report by the Associated Press. These residents are confused on how to conserve state water supply with the need to water their lawn in order to keep it green, particularly when they could be fined for violating either requirement.
FOX News reported on a survey of water providers that had indicated the Golden State has actually increased water usage by one percent since May. The State Water Board has voted to fine California residents up to $500 for not complying with emergency drought plans. Meanwhile, residents seeking to cut down on watering services for landscaping are still required to maintain a healthy, green lawn through alternative methods, such as drought-resistant lawn service. Though Californians appear split on the best ways to remedy these severe drought conditions, residents and visitors to the Golden State should be notified of the severity of the situation through practical means, such as pamphlets, announcements, and a notice sent to residents by mail. This may be the best way for water users to be more conscious of drought-related issues, including water usage.
Opinion By Liz Pimentel