Wednesday April 13, 2022


Green lawns, old appliances and leaky pipes all consume significant amounts of California’s water, and researchers have calculated in a new study that the state could reduce water use by more than 30% in cities and suburbs by investing in measures to use water more efficiently.

The study by the Pacific Institute, a water think tank in Oakland, also found big untapped potential for urban areas to reduce strains on overused rivers and aquifers by investing in local projects to recycle more wastewater and capture more stormwater. While the researchers determined large water-savings could be achieved throughout the state, they said the biggest potential lies in Southern California for reducing water use indoors and outdoors, reusing treated wastewater and collecting more runoff when it rains.

“California has made real progress in recent years to reduce water use and augment local water supplies,” said Heather Cooley, the institute’s research director. “Without those past efforts, our water challenges would be even more severe. But more is needed in the face of climate change and drought.”

California went through an extreme drought from 2012 to 2016 and is now in the third year of a drought that ranks among the worst on record. Across the West, research has shown that droughts are becoming more intense with the heating of planet caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

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