As California approaches the end of a disappointing rainy season, officials are further narrowing restrictions on water usage to help stave off the effects of the state’s ravaging four-year drought crisis.
Following record-low rainfall from December to April, with no extra precipitation expected for the rest of the year, the California State Water Resources Control Board voted Tuesday to increase emergency regulations on water usage for citizens and businesses alike.
“If conditions continue as they are likely to over the next two weeks, we’ll have less than half of the previous lowest reading,” California Department of Water Resources spokesperson Doug Carlson told Yahoo News on Tuesday. “There is going to be almost nothing this year, which is pretty alarming.”
The board is keeping previously established restrictions, which prohibit Californians from over-watering, using water to clean off their sidewalks, using sprinklers in the rain, or watering outdoor landscapes within 48 hours of rainfall.
In addition, the board is introducing new regulations which require water providers to have contingency plans for emergencies, prohibit restaurants from serving customers with table water unless asked, and order hotels to inform guests they may opt out of having their towels and linens cleaned.
“It is our understanding that the restaurant and hospitality industries have been understanding and cooperative in water conservation,” board spokesperson George Kostyrko told Yahoo News. “This action has been undertaken by many restaurants and bars, but it’s not throughout.”
According to a new poll by the Association of California Water Agencies, more than 90 percent of Californians are willing to make significant changes to conserve water.
On Tuesday, Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle coined a term for the sense of looming dread that sneaked up on the state after four years of growing drought: California Water Anxiety Syndrome.
“If you live here, you already know,” he writes. “California, as you might have heard, is running out of water. Very, very quickly. And there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.”
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