Fierce drought widening the economic divide in California
The drought conditions in California is widening economic split in California. The prospect of increased water-price in California is illustrating parallel worlds. The water war has divided Californians into tribes: urban vs. rural; coastal vs. inland.
Wealthy communities are consuming water and poorer neighbors are conserving by necessity. Southern California community is saving water to save money.
Alysia Thomas, a stay-at-home mother, urges her children to skip a bath when they do not play outside. This helps the family to hold down the water bill.
Lillian Barrera, a housekeeper who travels 25 miles to clean homes in Beverly Hills, serves dinner to her family on paper plates for the same reason.
However, the challenge of California’s drought is severely different in Cowan Heights, a lush oasis of wealth and comfort 30 miles east of here.
Peter Himber, a pediatric neurologist ahs stopped watering the gently sloping hillside on which he spent $100,000 in order to turn it into a green California paradise. He installed a sprinkler system fit for a golf course, which has rich native grass.
The daily water consumption rate was 572.4 gallons per person in Cowan Heights from July through September 2014.
The drought is forcing the state’s biggest water users, which include some of the wealthiest communities to bear the burden 25% cut in urban water consumption. The cut has been ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown. Cowan Heights is facing a 36% cut in its water use, compared with 8% for Compton.
Along with Compton, less wealthy communities are facing more modest cuts. Inglewood has been ordered to reduce its water consumption by 12% over what it was in 2013.