hosing with water
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The drought that’s ravaging every square inch of California is nature’s doing, albeit arguably juiced by climate change. But water shortfalls, which are prompting the government to suspend environmental protections for rivers and wildlife, are largely the result of inefficient use of water, and that’s a problem that can be solved.

That’s the message of a new report by the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The nonprofits looked at the practices of California’s farmers and cities, and at statewide water-recycling and stormwater-capture practices, and identified improvements that could provide 10.8 million to 13.7 million acre-feet of additional fresh water every year. That’s more water than is used by all the cities in the state every year.

“The good news is that solutions to our water problem exist,” the report states. “They are being implemented to varying degrees around the state with good results, but a lot more can be done.”

Here’s an overview of the report findings, in handy infographic form:

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

And here’s how the report’s authors sum up their recommendations in an opinion piece in The Sacramento Bee:

• [E]xpand … adoption of modern irrigation technologies and practices …

• Improve water-use productivity in our homes, industries and businesses [by]reducing leaks, installing efficient appliances, using less-wasteful manufacturing processes and replacing water-guzzling lawns with beautiful native landscapes …

• Expand use of high-quality recycled water in our homes and cities. …

• Expand capture and use of rainfall and stormwater runoff.