"It's a different world," governor Jerry Brown told reporters today, announcing the first mandatory water restrictions in California history today.
The state's drought has reached near-crisis proportions after a winter that yielded record-low snow and rainfall.
"This is the new normal," said Governor Brown. "We will learn how to cope with this."
The governor ordered the California Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory restrictions to reduce water usage across the state by 25%. The amount of water saved over the next nine months would total some 1.5 million acre-feet of water.
Read the Executive Order here. [PDF]
The Los Angeles Times summarizes some of what the order will do:
–Require golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscaped spaces to reduce water consumption.
–Replace 50 million square feet of lawn statewide with drought-tolerant landscaping as part of a partnership with local governments.
–Create a statewide rebate program to replace old appliances with more water- and energy-efficient ones.
–Require new homes to have water-efficient drip irrigation if developers want to use potable water for landscaping.
–Ban the watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
–Call on water agencies to implement new pricing models that discourage excessive water use.
–Require agricultural to report more water usage information to the state so that regulators can better find waste and improper activities.
–Create a mechanism to enforce requirements that water districts report usage numbers to the state.
Above, an image from a state snow survey conducted in 2013, released today by the Governor's press office. Early data shows the snowpack this year is lower than any previous year since 1950, when recordkeeping began.
Never before has the amount of water in the snow on April 1 dipped lower than 25% of the historical average for that day.