Water in California still a mirage

Bobby Belleville

Lawns are no longer green, lakes and rivers are becoming more shallow, and public service messages remind Californians that we’re in a drought. California has always been a dry state, and it relies on reserves to help irrigate the crops and get drinking water to citizens. Those reserves are drying up, but Governor Jerry Brown has put plans in motion to slow down the amount of water the state uses.

With El Niño conditions presenting themselves, people may think the end of the drought is near, but this doesn’t always mean more water for our reserves. In the seven years with similar conditions since 1950, three of those years were wet, one was average, and three have been dry, according to the State of California Department of Water Resources. This means that California is not out of the drought yet. There is still water to be saved, and people are doing their part.

Hot and dry
All over Fullerton College plants and trees can be seen suffering due to the drought. Photo credit: Joshua Mejia


California is in one of the worst droughts on record, but due to the combined efforts of citizens and businesses, it is still reducing its water usage. Californians are coming together to help save water. Dozens of cities all over the state have saved 15 percent more than what was required of them.

Typically in July, one of the hottest months when water is consumed the most, Californians decreased water consumption by 31.3 percent, exceeding the 25 percent water reduction mandate set by Governor Brown. California saved 74.6 billion gallons of water in July 2015, more than 4 times as much as the previous year (18 billion gallons).

Fullerton water reduction effort
The city of Fullerton has printed hundreds of signs to be place all over town to remind citizens to reduce water usage. Photo credit: Joshua Mejia


Fullerton College looked into artificial turf for some locations. Unfortunately, without government assistance it could get too expensive to make the necessary replacements to the entire campus. Fullerton College is still saving water where it can, on average watering 50 percent less in most locations.

“We tested one location with drought tolerant grass and removed turf from another section to test drought tolerant plants,” said Larry Lara, manager of Fullerton College Maintenance & Operations. “Over time, we will replace select planter areas with more drought tolerant plants.”

Tough turf
Even with Fullerton College’s water reduction grass seems to be finding a way to survive. Photo credit: Joshua Mejia


Some restaurants have stopped serving tap water, and serve bottled water at cost to the customer. People are letting their lawns fade to brown, buying water efficient appliances, and shortening shower times. These are small but important steps people can take to preserve the most precious resource in California since the 1849 Gold Rush.