Water rationing in California: Could it happen here? Why not?

AMERICA’S guitar-and-chorus chronicler of the Great Depression, the Dustbowl, and social injustice, Woody Guthrie, once described California as “a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see...” and even if he was warning those forlorn, destitute farmers fleeing the Midwest’s Dustbowl not to go to California, he could hardly have imagined that something approaching a Dustbowl catastrophe might hit the Golden State. 

Water rationing in California: Could it happen here? Why not?

Yet, in one of those unimaginable, undeniable levelling moments history and nature are so fond of inflicting, it has.

On Wednesday California governor Jerry Brown ordered residents and businesses to cut water usage by 25%. This is the first time California has been forced to impose such drastic measures.

Though farmers, already less productive because they have less water for irrigation, will be exempt, industrial parks and golf courses must cut a quarter of their water usage.

Householders will be encouraged to replace thirsty lawns with drought-resistant landscaping.

The rationing comes as California’s snow fields, the source of around a third of the state’s water, are at their lowest level since records began and this suggests that the inescapable drought, now entering its fourth year, is far from over.

Could it happen here?

It may be hard to imagine but who would have thought, 20 years ago, that Leinster’s water security would be dependent on importing water from the Shannon catchment?


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Saturday, June 19, 2021

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