California restricts water use for the first time

California restricts water use for the first time
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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is ordering the state’s first mandatory water use restrictions in an effort to cut consumption by 25 percent.

Brown’s executive order, issued Wednesday, restricts watering grass lawns, cemeteries, golf courses and grass in street medians while implementing new pricing models at water utilities designed to discourage overuse.

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It’s the latest effort by California officials to cope with the state’s historic drought, which is in its fourth year and shows few signs of receding.

Brown announced the new restrictions Wednesday in a grassy area of the Sierra Nevada mountains that is usually covered with feet of snow at this time of year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The snow usually melts throughout the summer to provide water for much of the state, but with none there, it will be an especially dry season.

“It’s a different world,” Brown told journalists gathered with him, according to the Times. “We have to act differently.”

In a statement accompanying the executive order, Brown said the drought calls for unprecedented measures.

“Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. The historic drought demands unprecedented action,” Brown said. “Therefore, I am issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible.”

Brown traveled to the mountains to observe the state’s official annual measurement of the snowpack. The snowpack typically provides 30 percent of the state’s water each year.

The restrictions would save 1.5 million acre-feet of water through the remainder of the year.