On 1 April 2015 California’s governor announced a mandatory reduction of water usage by the state’s 372 water suppliers in urban areas serving more than 3,000 customers or delivering more than 3,000 acre-feet per year. The cuts– 25% below 2013 levels– follow 20% voluntary cuts in 2014 that were only marginally effective.
Meanwhile, California’s drought, now in its fourth year, has reduced snowpack levels – typically accounting for 30% of the state’s water supplies, they have dropped below 5% of historical averages. These realities have pushed the state to adopt measures that go beyond demand management, adding to the state’s water supply. A US$7.2 billion water bond was approved by voters in November 2014; in January 2015 US$137 million was allocated for water recycling projects this year and another US$725 million is planned for water reuse and desalination projects going forward.
- California water challenges are beyond demand-side measures
- Wastewater reuse, advanced technology adoption accelerating in current environment
- Prospects for desalination limited to select projects