0502 GMT July 18, 2019
But what if the water waster is immune to peer pressure — or a resident spots a leak and isn’t sure just who to contact? Now the state is putting the power to root out water hogs in the hands of anyone with a smartphone or computer. A new mobile website unveiled by the California State Water Resources Control Board lets people file reports and upload photos of violations of the mandatory water restrictions. The reports are then sent directly to local agencies responsible for enforcing bans on lawn watering, car washing, and other conservation measures, takepart.com reported.
“A lot of people don’t know who their water supplier is, so they don’t know who to call,” said George Kostyrko, a spokesperson for the state water board. "We get hundreds of calls reporting water waste, so decided to create this website."
Nearly half of the California is currently suffering extreme drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. A study from the University of California, Davis, estimated the drought will cost California farmers close to $3 billion this year alone.
At SaveWater.ca.gov, individuals fill out anonymous incident reports specifying the type of water violation along with the date, time and location. They can also upload photos. The website matches the location of the violation with the relevant water agency and includes it in a daily report sent to local regulators.
In June, California reduced its water use 27.3 percent — saving 59.4 billion gallons — exceeding Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate to conserve 25 percent of the state’s water supply.
Sixty-five percent of the state’s 405 water districts that report to the state (those with 3,000 customers or less are only required to report once a year) are currently in compliance or within one percent of their conservation standard. The top performer was the central coast town of Cambria, which exceeded its goal by nearly 37 percent.
Yet over one-third of the reporting districts are off target. And 16 of these laggards are missing their goals by 15 percent or more. They will be hearing from the state in the near future, according to Kostyrko.
“We’re going to be meeting with them this week to talk with them about what they’re doing and what we can do to help,” he said.
Kostyrko says that since 50 percent to 80 percent of urban water is used outdoors, getting residents to reduce watering for landscaping is the easiest and most effective way to achieve water conservation.