Over 90% of the Western US is currently experiencing different severities of drought. However, California is being hit the hardest as it goes through the areas first megadrought in 1,200 years. The drought has forced 6 million Californians to reduce their water usage or run the risk of draining their water supply by the end of the year. Adel Hagekhalili, the district’s general manager, stated that Southern California will run out of water “unless [they] cut their usage by 35%”.
Where Does California Get Their Water From?
California typically receives a large amount of its water supply from the Rocky Mountains in Nevada from snow-melt, where it drains into California’s dams, reservoirs and aqueducts. However, with the effects of climate change, the Rocky Mountains received about a third less snow than normal, reducing the already dwindling reserves.
Californians are now forced to rely on the Colorado River as their source of water. This can be seen as a short-term solution, as more neighboring regions and states are forced to draw from the river, causing larger and larger supply and demand imbalances.
Manage Water Resources Today
Managing water resources is easier when you can measure and bill appropriately for water use. On an individual level, smart water meters allow users to be accountable for their water usage. Studies show that after metering systems are installed, the average person reduces their consumption by roughly 15-20%.
On a municipal level, water meters paired with a reporting software can track water consumption throughout a region. This allows for city planners and sustainability managers to better plan for droughts and climate emergencies, allowing cities to become more resilient in the face of climate change. For Californians, the message is clear: reduce your usage now, or face a larger problem later.