Oakland—Following two years of exceptionally dry conditions, the East Bay Utility District's board of directors voted Tuesday evening (April 27) to declare a stage one drought, and asked rate payers to reduce their water use by 10 percent.
In reaction, San Francisco Baykeeper executive director Sejal Choksi-Chugh issued the following statement:
"Bay Area residents have demonstrated over and over that we can use water wisely and sparingly, and this year’s drought conditions make individual conservation necessary once again.
"If California is going to take charge of its water problems and stop perennial water conflicts, we can't rely on individual or voluntary contributions alone—the state will also have to hold its biggest water users accountable.
"While Bay Area residents are making personal sacrifices and taking shorter showers, wild salmon and the salmon fishing industry are being sacrificed to the rice paddies and nut farms of the Central Valley. California's agriculture industry must do its part by using less water and growing crops that make sense in this climate. Our big cities must stop hoarding water; and in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission needs to follow Los Angeles’ lead and invest in recycling wastewater for everyday use.
"Governor Newsom can take an important step towards balancing California's water use priorities if he would allow the State Water Board to enforce its own water quality and environmental standards. We cannot sustain the current water-use practices that throttle San Francisco Bay and the Delta, as well as the fish, wildlife, and communities that rely on a healthy Bay."