Amid California’s ongoing drought, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered unprecedented mandatory water restrictions across the state as officials found “no snow whatsoever” at a crucial site in the Sierra Nevada.

The Guardian reports:

“This was the first time in 75 years of early-April measurements at the Phillips snow course that no snow was found there,” the California Department of Water Resources said in a statement on Wednesday at the conclusion of a survey attended by the Governor Jerry Brown. It said readings from Wednesday put the state’s level of water content at just 5% of the historical average for the date. …

Brown on Wednesday ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce statewide water use by 25%. The action – the first time ever state officials have imposed mandatory water restrictions – is expected to save 1.5m acre-feet of water by the year’s end. …

Brown’s order would also: • prohibit watering ornamental grass on public street medians; • require new homes to use water-efficient drip irrigation systems for landscaping; • direct urban water agencies to set up a new pricing structure to maximize water conservation; • require urban water and agricultural agencies to report more water usage information to the state.

Read more here.

“Democracy Now!” reports that public interest groups have criticized Brown “for not capping water usage by oil extraction industries and corporate farms, which grow water-intensive crops such as almonds and pistachios, most of which are exported out of state and overseas.” The current drought is the worst California has seen in at least 120 years.

Below, the show’s hosts discuss the drought with environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard, author of the book, “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.”

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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