2014 has been one of the driest years for California since 1906. California’s well system is drying up and our reservoirs are at record lows. The state and cities are scrambling to create awareness among residents using campaigns like ” Gold is the new Green” to reduce the amount of water used for landscape purposes.

Responding to Drought: New Solutions for Sustainable Cities was a set of presentations held at the West SacramentoIMG_0240[1] Community Center on Friday July 18th. The presentation was meant to give background on the drought and give insight on how other communities have dealt with it.

“About now, the middle of July, this is when things are going to become undone,” stated Debbie Davis of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. “This is when we will have communities that will come up without water because we don’t necessarily have the science to understand how the system functions under these conditions because we’ve never experienced them before.”

Recently, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into action a drought task force to find solutions for communities and industries. This task force will need multi-agency coordination to come to fruition. The task force’s aim is to ask cities about their strategies and then work with the cities to improve them. Throughout her presentation, Davis emphasized that most solutions to this drought will come from local governments.

“Australia has dealt with droughts for years, ” says Andy Lipkis founder of Tree People. “All of the things that are done for their water conservation is not impeding on their quality of life. Happiness and water conservation are not mutually-exclusive”.

In a span of a few years Australia was able to cut their water usage from 106 gallons per person per day (ppd) to 36ppd by restricting their outdoor water use. Outdoor water use is one of the biggest ways that Californians use water, and it is the easiest way to cut usage.