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The Editors

California's Drinking Problem

Aggressive water pricing can encourage conservation without soaking the average user.
Illustration by Bloomberg View
Illustration by Bloomberg View

California has at least another five months of drought ahead, U.S. forecasters estimate, putting new pressure on everyone to conserve already stretched water supplies. While farms use 80 percent of the state's water -- and it's essential that they cut back -- cities and towns have to do their share.

The good news is that officials already know how to get people to use less water. The bad news is that too few of them have acted aggressively enough. If the drought ends before they do (forecasters say wet El Nino weather could return next winter), the problems will only be worse the next time the water runs dry.