Study Warns California Will Need 40 Percent More Water in 25 Years
SACRAMENTO, Calif. At current rates, California's thirst for water will jump by 40 percent over the next 25 years, with much of the water used for landscaping, a new study warns.
The Public Policy Institute of California says in the study being released Wednesday that population growth will necessitate conservation, water planning and recycling as the West struggles with continuous water shortages.
California already has made strides in cutting indoor water use with more stringent plumbing codes and requiring water-efficient appliances.
"A lot of people put too much water on their lawns," said report author Ellen Hanak, an economist and researcher at the institute. "There's a potential for cutting way back and still having a nice green lawn."
With half of all the state's projected new residents moving to Sacramento, San Joaquin and western San Bernardino and Riverside counties east of Los Angeles, that use is liable to increase dramatically, the study said.
Half of all the water used by inland homeowners goes to irrigating yards, compared to one third or less on the cooler coast.
The nonprofit group plotted future use from current water consumption, population growth estimates and demographic projections. Fourteen million more people would each be using 232 gallons a day by 2030 at the current pace, the study said.
Hanak said California cities can follow the example of Las Vegas, promoting the use of native plants while maintaining much smaller lawns.
New developments and golf courses, parks and roadway medians can be designed to use recycled water, as some cities are doing already, said Hanak and Yvonne Hunter, a legislative representative for the League of California Cities.
Source: Associated Press