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California aims for 20% reduction in water consumption by 2020

State has comprehensive plan to revamp water policy

November 14, 2014 |
San Francisco, photographed northwards from the Coit Tower with Alcatraz in the

California’s comprehensive new water use plan makes conservation a priority, reinforcing a 2009 plan to reduce statewide per capita water consumption by 20% by 2020.

The state will invest in public awareness campaigns, research into water-use efficiency, alternative water supplies, and improved irrigation techniques.

"When the first plan was done in 1957, we had less than half the people in California than we have now," Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird told Reuters. "We did not have the impacts of climate change that we do now, and we did not have the pressure to make water conservation a way of life."

Californians face higher water prices and permanent conservation measures amid drought, global warming and population growth, state officials say. The Golden State is in its third year of a severe drought that has dried up wells and forced farmers to leave fields fallow.

The state is planning improvements on water infrastructure, including dams and reservoirs, as well as investments in new technology such as desalination plants and wastewater recycling.


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