The long succession of terrifying indicators that all of California is in a formidable dry spell (most recently the shockingly nonexistent snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas) have finally convinced the state to do something about it. Yesterday, Governor Brown announced California's first mandatory, statewide water restrictions, which require everyone to cut back by 25 percent. The LA Times points out that about 75 percent of the state's water is used by agriculture businesses, but these new regulations focus more on residential use, like when lawns and medians can be watered. Still, one look at this interactive map from the New York Times and it's clear that some residences are definitely water hogging.
The map uses information about how many "residential gallons" are being used per capita, per day; it notes that factors like the type of homes, the size of homes, population density, and the overall income in an area affect how much water people use. So it's not surprising that affluent communities like La Cañada Flintridge, Beverly Hills, and Arcadia—with big houses typically on bigger, landscaped lots— are among some of the thirstiest in and around Los Angeles. (The worst water wasters in California have recently been in the very rich Santa Fe Irrigation District, where residents water giant private citrus groves and enormous yards.)
Beverly Hills's water district serves 34,000 people and includes parts of West Hollywood. Individually, they used an average of 151 gallons per person in January, for a total of around 196 million gallons. That's better than last July, when they used 281 gallons per capita for approximately 295 million gallons overall.
The Valley Water company, which according to its website serves La Cañada Flintridge, soaked up 405 gallons of water per capita per day. Just 9,900 people used about 124 million gallons of water last summer; this past January, they used just 191 per person, but that's still way more than, say, East LA, where per capita water use was 53 gallons a day last summer and a mere 40 last January. To compare, in January of this year, average state gallon-per-day use was 72.6, according to a release from the state water boards.
· How Much Water Californians Use [NYT]
· Brown orders California's first mandatory water restrictions: 'It's a different world' [LAT]
· This is California's Worst Drought Since 800 AD [Curbed LA]
· Here's How Much Water is Being Used Per Person in Every Part of LA Every Day [Curbed LA]
· 8 Excuses From the People Using the Most Water in California [Curbed LA]