Water cuts erode farmers’ livelihood

DroughtBy Cherae Hunt |Staff Writer|

California is suffering through the worst drought in over 100 years and CSUSB is doing its part to deal with the water crisis.

“We have been in multi-year droughts and extended dry periods a number of times in the past, and we will be in the future. In periods like this there will be shortages, of course, but the state as a whole is not going to run dry in a year or two years,” said Ted Thomas, a spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources according to Los Angeles Times.

Gov. Jerry Brown claimed that “this historic drought demands unprecedented action,” while standing on a patch of dry, brown grass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that is usually covered in up to five feet of snow.

There have been restrictions limiting the water usage of California residents. These new restrictions have not affected farmers as much due to previous regulations, according to an article by Martha Raddatz on sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com.

“They’re providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America to a significant part of the world,” said Brown.

“The farmers use a lot of water but they use it to produce something that we need,” said the CSUSB Water Resource Institute Executive Director of Programs Boykin Witherspoon III.

There will be significant water cuts among large landscapes like cemeteries, campuses and golf courses.

“Out of the 200 to 300 gallons of water per person used a day in water, 50 percent is used on landscapes,” said Witherspoon.

CSUSB is using Calsense irrigation control systems at the main and Palm Desert Campus, according to the CSU Water Resources and Policy Initiative.

“We have a water shortage in California because we have experienced far below average precipitation in California for the last three to four years. Surface reservoirs directly collect precipitation runoff. Groundwater basins hold percolated water from rainfall and from snowmelt,” stated CSUSB Professor Joan Fryxell.

“These are the primary sources of water for the state, with Colorado River water contributing about 10 percent of the state’s water usage. California is taking its full allotment from the Colorado River, so that is already maxed out,” added Fryxell.

CSUSB students have their own opinions and concerns about the drought.

“It’s scary to know we can run out of water, especially when we live near the ocean. I wish there was a way we can use that water to our benefit,” said student Rachel Stewart.

CSUSB is also taking initiative by installing low domestic fixtures throughout campus, 20 percent reduction on irrigation controllers, and turning off ghost flush (automatic flush) on all automatic toilet valves, according to the WRPI.

“We need to start prioritizing. I mean what is more important? Perfectly green grass or having water I can drink if I am dying of a heat stroke? We need to start thinking about the future,” said student Carlos Gonzalez.

CSUSB also has The San Bernardino Valley Water-Wise Demonstration Garden to educate the community.

“I am willing to cut back. I even take shorter showers. I don’t know how else I can help but I would like to,” said student Derrick Jameson.

To find out ways to personally conserve water, go to wateruseitwisely.com.

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