My Personal Experience With California’s Water Drought

water drought water drought

Many worldwide have heard about the California’s water drought.  But, what many know is that it’s not just California being affected – in fact it’s not just the United States that are about to feel some major impacts.  Other states such as Arizona and Nevada are being heavily affected.  But it’s so much worse than that.  Our crops and farms were some of the largest suppliers of certain food in the world.  You are all about to feel the impact, no matter where you are on out fragile planet Earth.

As someone who lives in Burbank, California – a sub-city of Los Angeles that is home to the “real hollywood” – in other words, it’s where the actual studios are – I can attest to the fact that over the past year things got bad, in the last few months, they got worse, and in the past few weeks, they have gotten really bad.

It’s all explained why in the new Eco Watch article below, but let me give you an example.  If you call our city (Burbank has it’s own water and power separate from the City of Los Angeles DWP), you are reminded that there are door-to-door checks to make sure you’re not watering your lawn with regular water (and if you’re caught: you get a fine – a big one), running a fountain, and things of that nature.

Burbank has cut our water pressure to what they say is 50%, but I believe it is in reality about 30% (a slow motion gushing moving trickle cannot possibly be a 50% cut – but, I am no expert).  We are reminded that to keep our showers under 5 minutes.  They are monitoring (The city, that is) our water usage. They tell us in the pre-recorded message played while waiting to speak to someone at the Burbank Department of Water and Power that we need buckets on hand to fill as our shower water is warming up so that we can use it for watering plants and vegetables.

For the most part, we have it good compared to Northern California.  My fiancé’s father has to go to his local San Francisco suburb area sewage treatment plant to get his water to water the garden and front yard him and my future mother-in-law have maintained and cared for for years.  They are warned that their regular drinking water smells like salmon or fish because that part of the state is pulling water from “overly shallow” rivers that is used for Salmon and fish migration.

They are told to only flesh their toilets when it is absolutely necessary – if it doesn’t stink, leave it, essentially.  Their shower restrictions are even worse at 2 minutes.  Everyone is afraid the water police are going to come if they don’t stay under the short limit.

I was just visiting them a few weeks ago and a now typical shower must be conducted like this:  You stand in shower, with no water running.  Turn water on and immediately race the falling water and the clock to get your body wet and put soap on your body, get your hair wet, and then slam the shower off.  You then put the shampoo in your hair, scrub your body, and, pray that you have at least gotten a little cleaner.  The water reservoir is running out, you remember.  You have to do your part.  Part two of the shower (the second minute), involves having a panic attack as you literally race a (meager water pressure) shower stream to clean all of the soap and shampoo off of yourself.

You don’t. But you get most of it off – it took me almost the whole trip to finally get it down so I wasn’t covered in soap residue off – and that was the last day.  People that you think wouldn’t care about the water crisis, or our almost water reservoir being now almost empty are worried.  Yet, as well all sacrifice health and hygiene while praying for rain, companies like Nestle with contracts to mine water from our water reservoirs that expired decades ago, continue to do so unabashedly.

This is not a complaint.  It is my opinion of how bad things are – maybe you live in California and are experiencing something else – I haven’t heard of you existing – but, if you do, be grateful.  I have friends in Arizona and Nevada who have it the same or worse – but their states aren’t as popular as California, so the problem isn’t as prevalent in the media.

Let us know what you’re experiencing, and if you are personally affected by the drought.  My fiancé’s father was creative and had to alter the sewage containers of water to put on his lawn by adding a pressure pump so that he could make “water sprinklers” – most have trouble with the cumbersome monster containers of re-treated sewage.  Here’s a video of his clever concoction:

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Eco Watch released an article recently that is titled:  “Lake Mead About to Hit a Critical New Low as 15-Year Drought Continues in Southwest” – they explain:

Lake Mead, America’s largest U.S. reservoir when at capacity, is about to hit a critical new low. The reservoir near Las Vegas on the Colorado River has been in decline for decades because the reservoir and the larger Colorado River system has been over-allocated for many years. As of yesterday, the elevation of Lake Mead was 1,075.96. The reservoir is only days away from hitting 1,075 feet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s projections. That number is the threshold set in a 2007 agreement as part of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Colorado River Interim Guidelines, which calls for delivery cuts if water levels in Lake Mead drops below that level.

These cuts will be the first set of mandatory water delivery curtailments to Lake Mead. Should the water levels continue to drop, as they are expected to—due to the prolonged drought, climate change and poor water management—more cuts will be required. The Western Water Policy Program and the Bren School of Environmental Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara recently released their spring report, The Bathtub Ring, which examines the impacts as Lake Mead levels decline to 1075 feet, 1050 feet, 1025 feet and 1000 feet.

The Bureau of Reclamation predicts the first round of cuts could take place in January 2017 with Arizona and Southern Nevada seeing the biggest cuts. Arizona plans to curtail “groundwater recharge efforts” and cut “deliveries to farmers with low-priority rights,” according to the Las Vegas Sun. Arizona’s cities “would be unaffected, at least initially.” Southern Nevada, for its part, “has prepared with conservation, saving enough water that residents and businesses won’t be affected if a portion no longer is available.”

Further reductions would kick in when the reservoir dips below 1,050 feet and again at 1,025 feet. When the water level hits 1,025 feet, “a new round of water rationing would have to be negotiated,” reports the Las Vegas Sun. The epic drought has left water officials scrambling to plan for rapidly diminishing water levels.

Lake Mead’s elevation is projected to hit 1,075 feet in the next few weeks, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
“We’re headed to a new normal,” Gary Wockner, executive director of the nonprofit Save the Colorado River, told the Las Vegas Sun. “It remains to be seen what will happen, but political tensions are very likely.”

Upper-basin states are considering building more dams because states are feeling pressure to “use it or lose it” when it comes to water resources. But that will only make the problem worse as states across the West compete for fewer and fewer resources.

“It increases the likelihood that lower-basin states would have to do a ‘call on the river,’ where the lower basin will have to legally demand that the water is sent down river,” Wockner told EcoWatch. “It’s likely going to create a political crisis.”

Up until now, the seven states that share the Colorado River’s water have “put aside their differences in order to survive,” said the Las Vegas Sun. But that could change as water resources become more and more scarce in the drought-stricken West.

“As the Lake drops and the cuts begin, we need to rethink and re-manage the river,” said Wockner. “The farmers and cities may soon feel what the Colorado River already feels everyday—it is drained, dried up and depleted. We need a new Colorado River Compact that allocates water to the river’s health in addition to the health of the Southwest’s economy.”



Royce Christyn
About Royce Christyn (3467 Articles)
Documentarian, Writer, Producer, Director, Author.