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Thursday, July 30, 2009 

Drought proofing CA by 2020

California has a plan the 20x2020....and, like a glass of Goleta tap water, it's going to be hard to swallow for some folks used to the usual underpricing of our water.

California lawmakers are working on a historic plan — the first of its kind in the United States — to require a 20 percent reduction in per-capita urban water use by the year 2020. It signals the end of cheap water for water wasters, a change that's bound to come as a shock to some residents in the Golden State.

....Bob Wilkinson, a University of California, Santa Barbara professor who serves on the technical advisory committee for the California Water Plan, believes residents could easily achieve as much as a 30 percent reduction in just a few years.

"The No. 1 source for new water is urban water use efficiency," Wilkinson said. "It's not a sideshow, and it's important that people not think of this as a sacrifice. It wouldn't take draconian measures. We just need to get price signals in place to help people understand the real price and cost of water."

That's what's happening in Montecito, a wealthy community on the coast northwest of Los Angeles, where residents were paying three times as much for water as in Palmdale but didn't care about the cost because they could afford it. Newcomers who had no memory of the drought of 1986-91 tended to build big homes with big lawns.

While water demand flattened out in the rest of Southern California, including Los Angeles, Montecito's grew until it reached a local record in 2007 of more than 350 gallons per capita per day. That's one of the highest per capitas in the state, equivalent to that of people living in California's Sonoran Desert, near the border with Mexico.

"Everybody put in their lush landscaping," recalled Tom Mosby, the Montecito Water District general manager. "Money wasn't an issue. I would see trucks going up the street with sod and I was just having a heart attack."
- Melinda Burns @ MillerMcCune

Time to start living in the reality of drought. Money can't by a source that isn't available.

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