WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — California Governor Jerry Brown’s Executive Order is the result of “failed federal and state policies that have exacerbated the current drought into a man-made water crisis,” US House Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Friday.
The state and federal governments have “chosen to put the well-being of fish above the well-being of people,” he added, noting that they have refused to capture millions of gallons of water during wet years for use during dry years.
California is amidst an unprecedented drought affecting 98 percent of the state that has reduced water available for agriculture, human consumption and wildlife.
In California’s Central Valley, United States’ most productive agricultural land that produces half of the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts, farms have been forced to drill into dwindling groundwater aquifers and leave hundreds of thousands of acres fallow, resulting in food price increases across the country.
Governor Brown’s Executive Order “should not only alarm Californians, but the entire nation should take notice that the most productive agriculture state in the country has entered uncharted territory,” McCarty said. “I’m from the Central Valley and we know that we cannot conserve or ration our way out of this drought.”
Last week, Governor Brown announced a $1 billion emergency drought package, but Wednesday’s Executive Order goes further by directing the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory 25 percent reduction in water consumption across the state.
The Executive Order will also require 50 million square feet of lawns to be replaced with drought resistance landscaping, prohibit watering of public landscaping, force facilities such as campuses, and golf courses to make drastic cuts in water use, and ban new homes from watering using drinkable water.
Moreover, California’s water agencies are ordered to raise the price of water to discourage water waste and incentivize reduction in water use. In the important agricultural sector, the Executive Order will increase enforcement on wasting water and required farmers to report water usage to state regulators.
The comprehensive action also establishes mandatory water usage reporting requirements and takes steps to protect and responsibly use underground water resources, as well as increase use of water efficient appliances and technology.