By Chujun Tang
SACRAMENTO, CA – A briefing held by the state on April 14 with social media influencers aimed to support water conservation education statewide, as the state braces for another dry year.
“Make no mistake, California and the entire West are feeling the effects of the intensifying drought – notwithstanding today’s rainfall,” said Governor Newsom during the briefing. “We’re putting to work the lessons learned during the last drought, but with our climate getting hotter and drier, it’s critical that we work together to protect our water supply. Engaging Californians from all walks of life and connecting peer to peer, we can meet this challenge head-on.”
The Save Our Water program has been ramped up due to the backslide of water conservation this year. Californians saved less water during the driest two-month start to the year 2022, despite Newsom’s pleas for people voluntarily cutting 15 percent of their water use. Californians used 2.6 percent more water in January 2022 than the same month in 2020. Californians only conserved about 6.5 percent of water compared to 2020, falling far short of Newsom’s 15 percent goal.
Water conservation reached a bottleneck when much drier weather fell on California beginning this year. February was California’s second-driest month on record. Then, the April snow survey showed that the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides a third of California’s water supply, declined considerably to only 25 percent of average. Less saving and worsening climate combined call for new measures of the state for conservation.
While some advocates were anticipating a mandatory order from the state, it turned to communications efforts through the Save Our Water program, which is spearheaded by the refreshed online portal. The new webpage highlights the horrible consequences of intensified droughts as well as top tips for mass water conservation, with the top one to remove yard lawns. 80 percent of residential water usage happens outdoors in California. Home plants need more water to survive during summer, which is the typical dry season in the state.
The education program is organized in multiple ways. Various media, like radio, newsprints, billboards, are engaged in the advertising. These educational materials are dispatched in multiple languages such as Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese, to promote water conservation in diverse communities. The program focuses on the partnerships with celebrities: artists Lalo Alcarez, Isabella Ferregur, Jesus Zapien, Monica Villa, Leo Gonzalez, and Mario Lopez, who incorporate the awareness and approaches of saving water through the media; California sports teams, businesses, retailers, and other organizations to expand the reach of Save Our Water.
Save Our Water tries to incorporate water saving into daily routine. It cooperates with college campuses to amplify the call across generations, with local water agencies statewide through media and provides water-saving resources at farmer markets and county fairs.
“All Californians must focus on conserving water now. The Save Our Water campaign will help engage Californians with the information and resources they need. Saving water today means more water for tomorrow,” said Karla Nemeth, Department of Water Resources Director.