California is in the middle of a severe drought.
How severe? State officials expect the 2015 statewide snowpack to be about 6% of normal.
Can you imagine having only 6% of the water you normally have to last the whole year? Well, if you're in California you don't have to imagine.
Governor Brown's Executive Order
On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the first ever state-wide restrictions on water use, issuing an Executive Order mandating a 25% reduction of urban water use.
As a native San Franciscan and fifth generation Californian I can tell you that water is hot topic in the Golden State. From a young age I was taught the importance of conserving water. In college, I quickly made friends thanks to my impulse to turn off the water for others while they brushed their teeth. Maybe the point of saving water isn't to make friends.
Gov. Brown's Executive Order to essentially turn off the tap while everyone in California brushes their teeth or tries to water their lawn certainly isn't about making friends; it's about saving Californians, to put it lightly.
The California drought has been in and out of the news since I was born, and it's not showing any signs of going away.
It's time to take bold action to address the drought, a symptom of our larger climate crisis.
Drilling or Drinking? Your Choice.
This cloud has a silver lining: there is at least one thing we can do to address the CA drought and climate change at the same time.
In 2014 alone, fracking in California used 70 million gallons of water. Most of that water is removed completely from the hydrologic cycle, never to be seen or used again.
Fracking can also pollute California's rapidly depleting groundwater resources. Earlier this year state regulators ordered a dozen oil and gas wells to halt production because of concern that operations were contaminating drinking water.
But Gov. Brown's mandatory 25% reduction in potable water usage doesn't apply to oil and gas operators.
California cannot afford to waste valuable water resources on dirty fossil fuels. And our global climate can't afford it either.
Stopping the use of water in oil and gas extraction won't stop the drought or climate change, but in times like these we can't afford to waste a drop.