As California faces a fourth consecutive drought year – with January being the driest month on record – investor-owned water utilities continue to implement water-saving programs and encourage their customers to conserve this precious resource. The media also is educating the public on wise water use and the true cost of water, such as Marketplace correspondent Scott Tong’s piece, “Counting gallons: How much water do you use?,” which recently aired on Capital Public Radio.

In an attempt to “show how ignorant we can be about our water footprint,” Tong tracked his five-member family’s water usage throughout one day. Compared with the United Nation’s estimate of a minimum of 13 gallons per day for one person to drink, bathe and clean, Tong’s final tally was 310 gallons or 62 gallons for each family member in one day. Based on his current water rate, the usage equated to $1.30 per day or the cost of a bottle of water. One person commented on Tong’s story, “Imagine having to carry that much water from a well into a house?”

Tong also compared the United States’ water use with global consumption and cost and addressed the true cost of water by noting, “In many cases, what we pay does not cover the utilities’ full costs of sending water, replacing century-old pipes and adhering to Clean Water Act mandates.”

Beth Ruyak, host of Capital Public Radio’s show, Insight, also covered the impact of the drought on California’s water supply. Ruyak spoke with two U.C. Davis researchers, Ken Tate and Brad Hooker, who interviewed various farmers and ranchers to find out how they are dealing with the drought. Their responses are captured in “Voices from the Drought.”

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