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California drought: what it means for homeowners

By Lorrie Barclay

On January 1, 2015 a new law went into effect in California protecting residents in homeowners associations (HOA) who want to replace their water swallowing lawns with drought tolerant plants. The Assembly Bill 2104, which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September, prevents HOAs from penalizing residents for replacing their lawns with low-water plants due to concerns about a neighborhood’s character.

Residential water use accounts for about 35 percent of all urban water use. Nearly one quarter of all Californian residents live in a community governed by an HOA.

As California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record, homeowners are faced with the unknown. Throughout the state, there are many towns that have essentially run out of water. In Porterville, CA many wells have run dry and residents rely on charity for drinking water and cisterns throughout the town for water to wash clothes, dishes, and themselves, according to Alexander Ruggie, PR director for Pacific Home Remodeling.

Beyond scarcity, Californians, and homeowners especially have to deal with new restrictions that place limits on the number of days that they can water their lawns, Ruggie told Government Security News. While this may seem like an inconvenience to those unfamiliar with the issue, what it really signifies is a greater problem looming on the horizon that portends days of drinking water rationing as a whole.

There are many practices that people do every day that is a large waste of water such as doing the dishes by hand. Washing a typical load of dishes by hand can use around 40 gallons of water versus more modern electric dishwashers, which need less than 10 gallons per average load.

Other water wasting practices include washing the car and water sprinklers. Water sprinklers can use up to 265 gallons of water per hour.

Most people don’t think of taking a shorter shower, or turning off the water when they brush their teeth, or even getting a catchment system installed to collect rain and wastewater because at present the taps haven’t run dry and a gallon costs less than a penny, Ruggie added.

People need to fix the perception that this resource is endless before they start trying to gather support to take on the greater realities of the issue, Ruggie concluded.

Pacific Home Remodeling is a California based home remodeling company with expertise in solar installation, energy efficient materials, and green building techniques.


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