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In order to counteract the massive drought that has been plaguing the state for over 4 years, without showing any signs of stopping in the near future, California may ease up on water-use limits in drought affected areas. The regions which will benefit from this slight exemption will be those which are currently facing an increase in housing construction, as well as those which are suffering the highest temperatures in the state.
This decision will hopefully bring an improvement in regards to areas currently in development in order to create a more suitable area for living as well as maintaining the present landscape. Another reason why this move comes at this date is the fact that the effects of El Nino are slowly being felt, with water reservoirs gradually filling up to relatively adequate levels. Add to this the backlash from the general public when water limits were put into use, and you could not have a better time to release some of these limitations.
The targets assigned to California’s water distributors will face a decrease of about 4% on average while regionally, fluctuations from 4% to 36% will be seen if the current proposal is accepted. The ongoing limitations toward water supplies are claimed by water agencies to be unfair, without leaving any loopholes for various areas currently in development or going through landscape modifications.
This move has to be made with extreme caution, because if the water limits are removed throughout the state, a massive drought followed by extreme water shortages across the entire region of California will be felt. This is the reason why certain parties are currently against the decision of cutting back some of these limits.
The areas which will benefit the most if this proposal passes are Silicon Valley, Concord, Brentwood, and Pleasanton. These regions are presently in development in regards to landscape and housing, requiring extensive water usage. The areas which at the moment face the highest temperatures are Sacramento, Palm Springs and Fresno, as well as Bakersfield. They require water so that they can continue providing a relatively normal life to their citizens and maintaining a strong market presence in regards to agriculture or other water-reliant activities as well.
Even if an extremely strong El Nino would pass over the state, providing a much require surplus in water, a complete re-hydration of the arid landscape will not be made possible just over the course of a year. This is fairly unfortunate, given that such a weather phenomenon is highly unlikely, with the drought estimated to progress even after 2016, breaking record upon record in regards to high temperatures and low precipitations.
The move of desalinizing certain pockets of salt water is still heavily criticized by certain parties. Orange County expanded its water-recycling plant, allowing it to produce over 100 million gallons of life-giving water per day while San Diego invested $1 billion into a desalinization plant. These moves are criticized because they allegedly discourage water conservation by giving a constant supply intake to local governments.
If California may ease up on water-use limits in drought affected areas by passing the proposal regarding said subjects, the long term effects may eventually outweigh the short term ones in a detrimental manner. Only time will tell if this decision will be beneficial for both the environment and the general masses currently residing in the region or not.