Drought helps improve water quality at Southern California beaches

Drought helps improve water quality at Southern California beaches

Southern California’s year-long drought should be thanked for improved water quality at beaches, water conservation experts and environmentalists say.

Environmental group Heal the Bay’s just released annual Beach Report Card shows that nearly 97 per cent of Southern California beaches received either A or B grade for water quality during the summer months.

That marked an improvement of 3 percentage points from the summer months of last year. In California as a whole, 95 per cent of beaches earned an A or B grade during the busy summer. According to the report, the main reason for the improvement in water quality was lack of rain runoff, which was consequence of the state’s drought.

The newly published report states, “This was the fifth year in a row of below-average rainfall in Southern California, and as a result, its beaches experienced less urban runoff, which likely led to the improvement of overall grades.”

Leslie Griffin, a scientist with the environmental group, noted that water conservation efforts also contributed to less runoff that improved water quality at beaches. To cope with drought, several municipalities barred their residents from washing their vehicles or using their sprinklers more than twice per week.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently relaxed those strict water use rules, but environmentalists have been urging people to keep on with their conservation efforts as the state is still not out of the woods.