Entering a Drought, California Hasn’t Mandated Water Waste Rules

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In an aerial view, low water levels are visible at Folsom Lake on May 10, 2021 in Granite Bay, California.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in 41 of California's 58 counties, about 30 percent of the state's population.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared on Monday that 41 California counties are in a drought emergency. But unlike during the last major drought, the state has imposed no rules governing water waste. The last mandate, which expired in November 2017, included restrictions on, among other things, residential irrigation and car-washing. Advocates say these rules should be reinstated as the state once again enters a drought, claiming they not only save water but encourage eco-friendly mindsets. But others believe that water-use mandates should instead be enacted on the local level. We want to hear from you: should California reimpose water-waste rules for this drought? If so, which limitations should it prioritize?


Paul Rogers, Paul Rogers, natural resources and environment reporter, San Jose Mercury News