Feb 27, 2016

California’s drive to save water is killing trees, hurting utilities and raising taxes

California
USA
by
Darryl Fears
,
Washington Post
Workers from DuraTurf work on final touches with the artificial lawn at the home of Christopher Knight, who had the turf installed because of California's drought. Photo: David Walter Banks, Washington Post
Workers from DuraTurf work on final touches with the artificial lawn at the home of Christopher Knight, who had the turf installed because of California's drought. Photo: David Walter Banks, Washington Post

Eight months after California’s governor ordered cities to cut water consumption by a quarter, residents and businesses have exceeded expectations. But no good deed goes unpunished. Now, the state’s furious conservation drive is not only threatening trees but also resulting in sluggish sewer lines and possible increases in water and tax bills. In declaring a drought emergency in April, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said watering emerald-green grass every day “is a thing of the past.” He neglected to say trees were exempt, so residents, businesses and local governments stopped watering them, too. Now the state is losing millions of trees that beautify their cities, improve air quality, offer shade in areas where temperatures can reach 100 degrees and provide habitat for untold numbers of squirrels, birds and other animals