Laura Bliss, CITY LAB
(The Atlantic’s CityLab) — California’s getting more and more serious about water conservation: For the first time in nearly 40 years, the state mandated cuts for many of its oldest water-rights holders, many of whom are farmers. This comes just a few months after Governor Jerry Brown’s call for a 25 percent reduction among the state’s cities and towns—and as the state enters the summer of its fourth consecutive year of drought. Though agriculture water use will be hard to monitor, thirsty urban users who don’t comply face a range of fines.
So how do you explain a place like Rancho Santa Fe, an enclave of San Diego County, where water use has gone up by 9 percent since April?
Money. Steve Yuhas, a conservative talk-show host and part-time resident of Rancho Santa Fe, explained in a Washington Post hate-read this weekend: “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he said. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”