icon.jpgWith much of the country dealing with storms and icy weather, California is sitting high and dry. Too dry, in fact. Jan. 17, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a Drought State of Emergency and asked citizens to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 20 percent.

According to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, many areas of the state are reporting the lowest precipitation levels since they first began recording in the 1800s. Such rainfall is especially painful for a state going on its third dry year in a row.

In his declaration, Brown ordered water officials to ensure the state is prepared if drinking water supplies become an issue. This included ordering state agencies to reduce their water use and hire more firefighters. He also took the opportunity to launch an expanded water conservation campaign, Save Our Water, according to Cal OES.

“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” Brown said in his declaration.

The Azusa community has already experienced the consequences of these drought conditions, including the two fires that ravaged the hills above the city this academic year. With the National Weather Service showing year-to-date precipitation levels for the area at 10-25 percent of normal, more consequences could be forthcoming.

Should a much-needed storm materialize in the near future, it is important to note that one storm cannot undo months of record-low rain. The drought will continue until overall precipitation levels return to normal.

To deal with possible shortages, the SoW campaign website recommends conserving water now, something that can be done in a number of ways at APU.

1. If you do laundry regularly (and I sincerely hope you do), running only full loads will use less water and get you in a money-saving habit for the future.

2. Students with dishwashers should use them, as they tend to use less water than washing by hand. Just be sure to fill them up with dishes before running.

3. For pots and pans too big for the dishwasher, soak them while cleaning rather than letting the water run.

4. Showers are nice, but for each five minutes you spend showing, you use an additional 2.5 gallons of water if you have a low-flow shower head, according to the SoW website. Get clean, but then get out.

5. For you zealous water-savers out there, try turning off the shower while washing your hair, which can save up to 150 gallons of water a month.

6. When brushing your teeth or shaving, only turn the water on when you need it to rinse.