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Extreme water rationing begins in San Jose, California: Residents subjected to surprise inspections by the 'water police'

San Jose

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(NaturalNews) As California's record-breaking drought continues to worsen, officials have introduced tough new restrictions that went into effect on June 15, 2015. The city's one million residents face fines of up to $500 per day if they are found not to be in compliance with the strict new rules.

The region is still suffering from a severe water shortage caused by sparse recent yearly rainfalls that have been less than half the average amount. In addition, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which normally contributes meltwater to the area, has been at only around five percent of its normal volume this year.

In response to the crisis, the city has issued a long list of restrictions on water usage.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

Think cars, pools and lawns. It is now prohibited for anyone in San Jose to wash a car with potable water at home, whether or not they are using a hose with a shut-off nozzle. Commercial car washes are still allowed, as long as the businesses use recirculating water. It is also now illegal to top off a residential swimming pool or hot tub any more than 1 foot.

They go on to add:

Also, it is prohibited to put in a new lawn between May 1 and Oct. 31 if it has a sprinkler system. In other words, you can install new grass only if you water it by hand, with drip irrigation or with recycled water."

Other restrictions include watering lawns with sprinkler systems. San Jose residents are currently only allowed to use water sprinkler systems twice a week, and only before 10:00 am and after 8:00 pm, when cooler temperatures mean less evaporation.

Roughly half of all the water used by California's urban residents is for watering lawns and irrigating landscapes. The San Jose restrictions are aimed at reducing water use by 30 percent overall.

California has already issued a number of statewide restrictions including $10,000-a-day fines that will apply to San Jose area water providers if they don't cut water usage by 20 percent compared to 2013 levels. In addition, it is illegal for restaurants throughout the state to serve water to customers unless they ask for it. Hotels are required to inform guests that they do not need to have their towels and linens washed daily. Residents are not allowed to water lawns in a manner that causes excess water to run onto the streets, sidewalks or in gutters. Residents are also subject to fines if they use sprinklers within 48 hours of a measurable rainfall.

All of these restrictions reflect just how critical the drought conditions have become. There has been a great deal of controversy over who should be subject to restrictions.

Many California residents are angered at the restrictions on their own water usage, considering the fact that 80 percent of all water in the state is consumed by the agriculture industry.

There has been infighting among residents as well, along with a growing trend of "water-shaming" aimed at those who appear to be wasting water for what are perceived as frivolous uses of the dwindling supply, such as affluent residents and celebrities keeping their large lawns looking lush and green.

Lawsuits are being filed against the state by various interest groups regarding water restrictions, and things are likely to get even uglier unless the drought conditions begin to reverse. When that will happen is anyone's guess.

Drought conditions or not, water supplies throughout the entire country -- and indeed the entire world -- are under threat due to increased demand. Major water sources are beginning to dry up as we continue to deplete reservoirs and aquifers in an effort to support our often wasteful water usage habits.

Disputes over water rights will undoubtedly increase over the coming years as hundreds of millions of people around the globe discover that there is less and less of it to go around.



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