The drought in California persists and it has definitely been on the minds of Americans across the entire country – coast to coast – leaving us with feelings of unease and guilt with this cataclysmic circumstance continuing.
The Golden State has considered its groundwater its safety net for some time now, however, so much of it has been depleted that land is sinking right underneath people and aquifers are at serious risk of being drained. Up until last year, the creation and use of wells, when and where they were created, was completely unregulated. British Columbia also did not have any groundwater regulations up until the same time in 2014 when California passed legislation to deal with this issue.
The Water Sustainability Act and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act were the two pieces of legislation that CA has enacted and British Columbia will enforce starting 2016. These pieces of legislation regulate the use of groundwater, as well as aim to better manage groundwater use in the state and province.
The fact that these two very large jurisdictions are both experiencing such similar circumstances at virtually the same time is disconcerting. This points to a trend that the continent and other parts of the world should be paying attention to. Areas where water previously was not a scarce resource may have that change faster than anticipated, and precautions should be taken before issues arise.
The best way to proceed is to take action now – to not wait until there is a problem. Water is a global issue and just because water may not be hard to come by in some places, does not mean that will not change in the next 20, 10, even 2 years.
What can be done can start with each and every individual acknowledging that there is a global water crisis and being more conscious of water use and waste. Once everyone makes efforts to conserve, steps can be taken to make the issue less urgent, and maybe the water crisis can become less and less critical.