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Mandatory Drought Regulations Affect Farms, Lawns

Now in its fourth year, the California drought has hit home -- and front lawns -- for many urban water users.

Going Dry

Governor Jerry Brown has proposed a 25 percent cut in urban water use, including on golf courses, campuses and cemeteries.

Urban water use only amounts for less than 25 percent of all water use total. His proposal for agricultural -- a major source of water usage -- is slightly less drastic, leading some to question Brown's decision.

Those in California's agriculture sector see it differently. Over 400,000 acres of farmland went unplanted last year, and only the farmers with the most senior water rights will see any of the irrigation waters for their land.

Trickle-Down Effect

This is the first time in California's history that mandatory water use restrictions have gone into effect.

Plants like almonds and lettuce require more water than other agriculture, and some argue for a shift in plants that are more drought-tolerant.

Shifting to drought-tolerant plants can have unintended consequences, however -- such as a potential market distortion.

Read More:

  • Gov. Brown's drought plan goes easy on agriculture (Los Angeles Times)
  • What Record-Breaking Drought Means for California's Future (LiveScience)

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