Water cops may be hired by the Santa Clara Valley Water District of California amid the megadrought to monitor the wastage of water.
According to The Mercury News, California plans to hire “water cops” to monitor people and companies who waste water, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom declaring a drought emergency last July and putting sections of Southern California under water restrictions.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which covers 15 cities and more than 2 million people south of the San Francisco Bay Area, is considering hiring “water cops” to patrol homes and business districts for water wasters. People who waste water face fines of up to $500.
Water cops may issue tickets to anyone who water their lawns for extended periods of time or wash their automobiles in the driveway.
Water cops are “needed because of the unprecedented times we’re in, and because we aren’t making enough progress on our water savings,” according to Aaron Baker, the COO of Valley Water.
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Despite calls for conservation during a megadrought, California’s overall water usage in March was the highest since 2015, despite calls for conservation.
According to the California Water Resources Control Board, water usage increased by 19% from March 2020.
In March, the Bay Area was up 2.5% year over year. Demand was particularly strong in Southern California, with increases of 26.9% in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties.
Even with Newsom’s drought emergency deceleration last July, Californians aren’t listening to the state government. This could be problematic since a dry spring and the lack of statewide obligatory conservation rules, combined with expectations for a hot summer, could exacerbate the water shortage.
“We just came off the driest January, February and March in recorded history.
“It was a jaw-droppingly dry three months. People started turning on their sprinklers early. That’s where the water went. To their lawns. Pure and simple,” said Jeffrey Mount, a professor emeritus at UC Davis and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s water center.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the East Bay Municipal Utility are the most recent examples of a developing water issue, limiting the quantity of water consumers can use in their yards.
The Mercury News reported that “the lack of conservation is becoming a growing political embarrassment for Newsom, whose call for 15% conservation so far has been voluntary.” To be effective, the state government may need to take strong measures against water wasters in order to accomplish conservation goals.