A four-year drought with no end in sight and California Gov. Jerry Brown’s order to cut residential and commercial water consumption by 25% could cramp the construction of new homes despite a lack of housing in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, where building has been booming.
Stanford University history professor Richard White told The New York Times that mandatory water restrictions would make it “harder and harder to build new housing. … How many developments can you afford if you don’t have water?”
The continued drought, others have speculated, could force the state to change the way it does business and force its residents to change their lifestyles. More pointedly, The Times said, it could affect the state’s entertainment and glamour industries, keep tourists and new residents away, and stop businesses from locating there.
The drought has already started to change the way builders appoint new homes. Native landscapes featuring rocks and desert plants have replaced lush lawns and flower gardens in areas that already restrict water use. Low-flow toilets and faucets are standard in new homes.
“You just can’t live the way you always have,” Brown said. “We are embarked upon an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment. This will require learning.”