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Executive Summary for July 14th

To give you an overview of the latest news on the California drought, we’ve organized the most recent developments in a curated summary.

Published on July 14, 2015 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Water Agencies Fight Bill that Requires Leak Reporting

California’s 4,000-some urban water agencies have begun to crack down hard on customers who waste water, imposing fines and steeper water bills. So you’d think they wouldn’t mind sharing information about leaks in their own water distribution systems.

You would be wrong.

Two large water industry groups, the California Municipal Utilities Association and the Association of California Water Agencies, are fighting a bill by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, that would require water sellers to make annual audited reports on their water losses.

The bill, SB 555, passed the Senate in June with just two dissenting votes. It’s set for a hearing today before the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee in Sacramento.

A spokeswoman for ACWA told KPCC Public Radio her group wants water retailers exempted from annual report requirements if they achieve a certain minimum level of water loss.

Current law requires leak reporting only every five years.

“There’s no clear way for us to know how these systems are working,” Madelyn Glickfeld, director of the Water Resources Group at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, told the radio station.

Landscapers Thrive Amid Drought

One segment of the California economy that’s thriving amid the drought is landscaping.

Property owners are racing to replace lawns with native landscaping that uses less water. In some cases, people simply want to do their part to use less water. Landscaping uses more water than any other segment of residential consumption.

In other cases, some homeowners may be rushing to take advantage of rebate programs to remove lawns offered by their local water agency.

It can cost up to $10,000 to replace a large lawn. But some landscapers told Fox 40 television in Sacramento that they’re on track to double their revenue this year.

“I’m falling behind on my design work because I’m fielding so many calls and emails,” said Rob Moore, owner of California Native Landscape Design in Orange County.

On Joshua Tree Trails, Animals Come First

Joshua Tree National Park is excluding humans from a portion of the popular 49 Palms Oasis Trail to ensure bighorn sheep have access to water.

The park has a population of only 50 bighorn sheep, and the oasis is a crucial water source for the animals. Human activity on the trail often scares the animals away.

“I had to weigh the decision: Do we provide continual public access to that, or do we protect that population of animals? And we chose the latter right now,” a park official told KPCC Public Radio.

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