Rising demand for water in drought-hit California

PHOTO: NYT

Los Angeles - The nine cities with the worst drought conditions in the United States are all in California, which is now entering its fourth consecutive year of drought as demand for water is at an all-time high, USA Today reported last week.

Severe water shortages have prompted Governor Jerry Brown to mandate a 25 per cent reduction in non-agricultural water use, challenging the state's history as a frontier of prosperity and glamour.

This picture of a housing development (above) on the edge of the desert in Cathedral City, California, taken on April 3, shows many homes with pools, underscoring the state's growing demand for water versus the growing need to conserve it.

As water levels in reservoirs shrink, the drought is also drying out the state's forests. Firefighters were working last Friday to contain several massive wildfires raging from Alaska to California that have forced hundreds of people to evacuate from their homes.

The so-called "Lake Fire" in a national forest outside Los Angeles had swelled to 4,500ha last Friday from 3,000ha the day before, Reuters reported the San Bernardino County Fire Department as saying.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 21, 2015, with the headline 'Rising demand for water in drought-hit California'. Print Edition | Subscribe