California drought: Gov. Jerry Brown stresses water conservation


With the state's water supply dwindling, agencies across California are coming together to look for solutions.

The governor joined members of the Metropolitan Water District to drive home the message that every drop counts.

"This drought is a big wake-up call and a reminder that we do depend on natural systems. It's not all just going to the store and see what we can buy," Brown said.

The Metropolitan Water District provides water to close to 19 million Californians, which amounts to about one in two people. The agency has long stressed conservation and the now, the need has never been greater.

"We want all of Southern Californians to conserve water, and we support the state's goal of 20 percent conservation," said Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District.

Water conserving tools and methods are fairly common in Southern California. But this drought is so severe, that it's something Northern Californians will have to get used to as well.

"It ultimately is the home. What do you use your water for, and what don't you need to use your water for? Every day this drought goes on, we're going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing," Brown said.

One conservation method some cities and counties are turning to is called "toilet to tap." The process filters the water that's flushed and returns it to the drinking supply. It is controversial, but the governor admits all options have to be on the table.

No one knows that better than residents in Bishop, who have seen the Sierra snowpack and the skiers that usually follow dwindle.

"We're all very concerned. The lack of water has serious financial implications for all of the businesses in the Bishop area. So yes, we're quite concerned," said Tawni Thomson with the Bishop Chamber of Commerce.

With no snow, no skiers and a lot less water to go around - the drought is starting to take its toll across the state.

The Metropolitan Water District says they're doubling the budget for rebate programs from $20 million to $40 million because they've proven to be very effective.

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