You are the Senior Hydrologist with the local government department in California. There is a water shortage in your state and the Mayor has asked your department to identify: (1) five short-term...

You are the Senior Hydrologist with the local government department in California. There is a water shortage in your state and the Mayor has asked your department to identify:

(1) five short-term (< 5 years) and (2) two-long term measures (within 20 years) that could be implemented to reduce or alleviate the problem.

Provide (3) justification for your recommendations and (4) discus how you will convince the public to accept these measures.

1.5 -2 pages (Arial (Body) 12 font).

Single spaced. List references.

Expert Answers
gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

California is again reeling under the drought and measures are being taken to alleviate the problem. Drought, in general, causes reduction in ground water table and surface water levels, impacts agriculture and wildlife, and may also result in saltwater intrusion and increased instances of wildfires. A number of short and long term steps can be taken to alleviate the problem:

Short-term (less than 5 years duration):

  1. Reduction in usage: One of the ways we can alleviate the water shortage is by making some changes to our lifestyle and conserving water. These changes may be as simple as reduced shower time, lesser number of car washes and lesser water use for gardening/lawn.
  2. Water conservation: water conservation by water reuse (washing cars in lawn will clean the car and water the lawn, etc.), rainwater harvesting, etc. is required.
  3. More efficient fixtures: water efficient fixtures can replace older, water-intensive fixtures and help us save more water. Government rebates on these water-efficient fixture will help their adoption. Some examples can be water-efficient washer, cistern tanks, shower heads, etc.
  4. Government regulation: Strict actions have to be taken against violators, including tickets and notices. When the entire region is suffering the drought, people have to commit to the conservation efforts and any deviation should be accordingly dealt to ensure compliance.
  5. Reduce losses: by repairing the water conveyance network and ensuring no (or least amount of) leakages are there. The same can also be done at the household level.

Long-term (more than 5 years duration):

  1. Use of more efficient devices/practices and conveyance network: Long-term efforts must include use of more efficient devices, both at household level and city level. Agriculture is one of the primary consumers of water and hence should aid the efforts by controlled usage. One of the long term agricultural measures can be more efficient irrigation practices, such as sprinkler systems, etc. State-wide efforts at improving the water conveyance infrastructure are also needed to ensure least wastage. Irrigation can also use the city's wastewater (at least some part of it, which is not very contaminated or after some level of treatment.).
  2. Land management practices to reduce demand and improve conservation: One of the key challenges is to ensure better land management for demand reduction and increased conservation. Paved areas, including building need to install rain water harvesting system to increase ground water table. Commercial and institutional settings should be encouraged to partially reuse the water. Agriculture has to commit to its share. Given the large water requirements, a switch to less water intensive crops is one way farmers can contribute. 

Implementation of these measures will be aided by public awareness, education and strict compliance norms. Leaflets and other publications can be circulated to ensure the awareness of residents. At the school-level, children can be educated about the drought conditions, efforts undertaken and what they can do to aid the efforts. Any deviation from the city's water conservation efforts should be dealt with accordingly and warning notices and monetary fines can be issued. 

Hope this helps.