Water restrictions attempt to combat western drought
From January to July, western states have experienced a record dry spell. With extreme droughts threatening local water supplies, state and local officials are enacting conservation policies to ensure the wells don’t run dry.
In Henderson, Nev., efforts include prohibiting irrigation before sunset until Oct. 1 and installing new, low volume irrigation turf in residential front yards, common areas, highway medians and non-residential developments, according to Henderson’s website. Since the city’s drought response plan was developed in 2002, southern Nevada has reduced its water demand from about 314 gallons per person per day to about 219 gallons, according to materials from the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
Las Vegas has joined Henderson in rethinking lawns. The city has offered residents monetary incentives totaling $200 million to replace grass with synthetic material, according to theThe New York Times. Other conservation efforts have been successful in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Daily Times. Residents are consuming nearly 33 percent less water per day than a year ago. However, severe droughts have affected the city’s water supply this summer. If the city’s water supply drops to 60 percent, Las Vegas has plans for an aggressive drought awareness campaign. The city also will identify major water users and fine them up to $5,120 after the fifth infraction, according to Las Vegas’ website.
In Austin, Texas, Austin Water implemented drought regulations last September that remain in effect. Restrictions include assigned irrigation times and dates and restrictions on car washes and public fountain bans. Restaurants may not serve water without it being specifically requested by a patron and patio mister operations are limited under a set period of time.
California’s weather this year was marred by significant drought conditions. With water rapidly depleting, California American Water has encouraged all consumers to cut back water usage. Methods include no longer refilling swimming pools, ceasing automatic service of water to restaurant patrons and no longer watering plants more than every other day.
Despite these restrictions and previously holding above-average water levels, most of California is experiencing severe drought levels.