June 14, 2008

State-wide drought, regional water rationing, and local wasteful irrigation

The above photograph was taken on June 11, at approximately 1 p.m., on the UC campus. The previous day, the fountain at Bancroft and Berkeley, several feet away from the lawn in the photo (see steps in the background), was overflowing. The overflow might have been related to the construction project at the law school to the east. I do not think the June 11 lawn watering was the result of a mechanical malfunction. At 3 p.m. on the same day, I noticed that the lawn in front of Hearst Gym on Bancroft had been watered - the grass was covered with water drops, glistened in the sun, and the sidewalk was wet. East Bay Municipal Utility District (or EBMUD) is enforcing a mandatory water rationing rule. EBMUD has set water use reduction goals for various users; the required water use reduction for institutions is 9%. California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, declared a statewide drought last week, on June 5. The governor "called for a 20 percent reduction in water use statewide and urged local agencies to bolster conservation programs and to work with federal and other authorities to help farmers who are suffering huge financial losses and abandoning crops in droves" (San Francisco Chronicle).

left, Cedar Rapids, IA (source: sfgate.com) right, Camache Reservoir, east of Lodi, CA (source: EBMUD) While cities and states in the Midwest are grappling with the effects of torrential rain and resulting floods, the Bay Area, though experiencing cooler weather than earlier this week, is still in a drought and water conservation requires our "extra efforts" after two successive dry winters (EBMUD).

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