Few states boast the varied environments and ecosystem unique to California. By car, one could see the temperate beaches of Orange County, the sun-kissed Mojave Desert, and even the snowy mountains of Big Bear. However, the equilibrium of these ecosystems is in jeopardy, under threat from the worst drought in the history of The Golden State. Lack of precipitation — specifically snow, which turns into running water — has created a statewide drying effect.

 

With 98 percent of the state experiencing drought conditions from moderate to severe and the problem only expected to get worse, we face a call to action. As a result, the state government has mandated wide-spread water restrictions — the first in California’s history.

 

California's snow slowly drying up (nbcbayarea.com)

California’s snow slowly drying up (nbcbayarea.com)

In broad strokes, the water restrictions will require a 25 percent reduction of consumption from all California water agencies. These agencies will monitor public use of water and penalize those who choose not to abide by it. For many, this means that frequent use of hoses and sprinklers for tasks, such as lawn maintenance and car washing, could result in stiff fines. In an article from The New York Times, California Governor Jerry Brown stated, “the idea of your nice, little green lawn getting watered everyday — those days are past.” One question remains: will Californians listen?

 

Californians, and Americans in general, need to look at this crisis as an opportunity. We need to look at our current way of doing things and realize that something must change. Acceptance of minor lifestyle alterations could reap massive benefits for the state, and even the world as a whole. California’s ban on plastic bags has slowly taken effect, reducing the number of such bags in circulation. By now, the sight of reusable canvas bags in grocery stores has become commonplace. While the transition is slow, using less water could be just as painless.

 

Other changes can be made that do not just focus on conservation but renewable water. Technology already exists to make sewage water usable for every purpose we could require, even drinking. The project has met with some friction regarding the prospect of drinking unclean water, but if the science is sound, we seem to be running out of other options. Desalination — the process of taking sea water and removing its salt content — has also shown potential as a viable solution. These seemingly effective projects get mired in politics and debate, but if we sit by and do nothing, soon California will wither away.

 

Are you a Californian suffering through the drought? Do you think there are renewable options not being explored? Comment below or tweet @connerws