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Exciting 2019: New Laws in California. Some Good, Some Not So.

There are no signs of severe drought in California this year, but the state legislators continue to move down the road of water wasting mindset prevention. As a reminder to those residents and businesses who have gotten a little lazy and are back to using as much water as before the drought, water legislations are passing on through eight phases of the mandatory water conservation program. It's Murphy's law: "Just when you think things cannot get any worse, they will." But there is also some good news for Californians. Minimum wage is going up to $11-$12 per hour depending on company size. Women are getting more protection. Illegal businesses of the past are making into respected taxpayers.


Severe water drought in California seems to be over, but the water conservation rules continue to march down the state road. As a part of life, the universe works on the second law of thermodynamics: the entropy (a measure of the amount of disorder within a system) always tend to stay the same or increase; in other words, the energy of the law is continuously gradually moving towards chaos. No matter how long you leave a boiling pan of water, it will never become a block of ice. A broken plate can't reassemble itself, because it would reduce the entropy of the system and defy the second law of thermodynamics. Arcadia, California, for example, started the first phase (out of a total of eight) pushing the city's mandatory water conservation program.

Lawn irrigation limitations were expected as they go across California according to the California water plan updated in 2013 with Governor Edmund G. Brown. First state's water plan dates back to 1873. It was changed and improved over the years, but when the drought struck California in 2011, the state seemed to be unprepared for this quick turn of events. Non-revenue water loss in California is from 16 to 30 percent depending on the location. It means this percent of the water never makes it to the end-user. How?

The non-revenue water loss happened due to the water infrastructure: it means water pipes are leaking, irrigation is unfunctional, not enough wastewater treatment centers around the state, or desalination plants. There is no centralized water distribution system. In other words, water in California is not monitored as well as it's supposed to be for a place where drought likelihood is high. And of course, it's impossible to change the entire system over a couple of years. So, the best bet was to raise social awareness and to impose new laws on residents to prevent water wasting activities.

And sure, in 2011, most Californians didn't treat water as a national commodity with a value like gas and oil. "The more you use, the more you pay" in regards to water didn't cross anyone's mind. By 2019, most people start to realize the connection, and water conservation became the thing of, at least, consideration.

Here is a good example of how the state water legislation transpires. New water restriction rules are exposed to all residents and visitors of the city of Arcadia, California.

For Arcadia residents, the law wasn't a surprise, but who likes to be restricted? You can't wash your sidewalks and driveways, cars or any other vehicles. How about decorative fountains and swimming pools? Sorry, guys, you can't fill them up anymore.

Just like for most Californians nowadays, the only plausible alternative to lush green lawns of the past is artificial grass. Drought-tolerant plants are available at Home Depot, Lowes and local nurseries, but not everyone enjoys mulch, cactuses, hard concrete, pavers or gravel. Synthetic grass looks and feels like natural grass but it doesn't take any water or maintenance to stay fresh, green, and luxurious all year long. If you still own natural lawn, it will not survive proposed limited irrigation. There are also a couple of things to keep in mind.

Check your pipes for leaks and change shower heads with eco-friendly alternatives. Yep, water becomes a luxury in California.

It's really interesting what new rules say about drinking water:

"No restaurant, hotel, café, cafeteria, bar or other public place where food or beverage is served or offered for sale shall serve drinking water to any customer unless expressly requested by the customer."

It's not just about water in the dine-ins. Starting in 2019, restaurants can't provide plastic straws unless again, you "expressly" ask. This year we can still have straws at fast-food places, but it will be depreciated shortly by the next year Los Angeles ordinance.

Now, a bit more concerning general hygiene:

"No hotel or motel shall launder towels and linens of an occupied guestroom on a daily basis unless expressly requested by the guest."

I guess, if you like clean linens, straws or a glass of water now and then, you must learn how to "expressly" request things without being oppressive.

It's Murphy's law: "Just when you think things cannot get any worse, they will."

Now, perhaps, there is some good news for Californias this year.

While you can't get as much water as you want, you can smoke pot as much as you like. The California Department of Justice is starting to proactively identify cases of past marijuana convictions that are eligible to be dismissed or diminish.

That goes for new trending in California's venues. According to a new law, you can now host events where onsite cannabis sale and consumption is allowed. I mean, who cares about dirty linens while smoking drugs?

So far, 2019 has been a great year for women as well.

By the end of next year, all companies with five or more workers must offer sexual harassment prevention training to their employees.

All boards of publicly traded companies (in California) must include at least one woman by the end of 2019. According to the state data, more than a quarter of the largest companies have no women on their boards. By 2021, the men-women proportion will become more stringent.

California is a great state to live, but the lawmakers never stop revving into high gear. Only in 2018, they passed 1,106 laws. Governer Brown sticks to his "locals know best" philosophy, but year by year, California is becoming a different state. You can smoke pot and get educated at work on sexual harassment, but you must obey water conservation laws which are getting more and more stern over time. Leaving aside inadequate feelings of being restrained, we must always remember that without a sufficient amount of water, overpopulated California will not survive, period.

Water sprinkler, car in water, California water fines

Despite the dry winter, California State Water Resources Control Board and cities representatives support the state water regulators in Sacramento to fine residents up to $500 per water violation. Orginal water rules were set on a temporary basis during the California drought 2014-2017 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Now, according to the water conservation portal, it will, most likely, become a permanent Califonia law.

California drought. Brown bald lawn in Bay Area.

Despite the drought officially ended by Gov. Jerry Brown, Mediterranean climate in major parts of California remains the same. Water demands in warm, hot, dry summers and mild, moderately wet winters always exceed the water resources. A five-year drought raised concerns. It costs the state economy billions of dollars. It stressed forests and left more than 100 million dead trees behind. But the effects are far more deadly than anyone could imagine.

California drought green grass dry soil landscape alternative landscape cracks land

California doesn't look green anymore. In the historic state of drought, Californian lawns are now on the edge of extinction. Homeowners and communities are continuously looking for alternatives and the artificial grass looks more and more attractive.

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