Communities across California are working out plans to make big cuts in water usage. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order mandating a sharp drop in water use across the state as it struggles with a worsening four-year drought. CBS News' David Begnaud reports from California.
At the landmark Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, the luxury experience starts with a drought notice and request to conserve water. Guests are permitted to shower, but they can't leave it running. Guests also have to ask for water when dining.
Susan Williger handles PR for the Huntington. She says the hotel is a crash course in water conservation.
Vacationers come face-to-face with what Californians are learning: Saving water isn't easy.
That's why Long Beach residents voluntarily installed monitors to track their water usage. And that's why the head of the state's water board, Felicia Marcus, told reporters she is proud of her rarely washed car and wants others to follow her lead.
"Take your car to a place that recycles their water and do it when it's gross to touch the handle," Marcus said.
Recycled water is being given away for landscaping at the San Ramon sewage treatment plant.
"We'll see a day where we go directly from highly treated sewage directly to your faucet," said Mark Gold, acting director of UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
Gold teaches water management and is keenly aware of what could happen as the population grows.
"California goes from 37 million today all the way to 50 million in 2050," Gold said. "We can't even really sustain the water use that we're using right now."
Without rain, farming has stopped on more than 400,000 acres, leaving 17,000 workers unemployed and cutting $15 billion from the state's agricultural profits.
"The reality is we live in a climate here that gets about 14 inches of rain a year, when we're lucky," Gold said.
Since luck isn't enough to rely on, homeowners are replacing their lawns with drought-resistant landscapes and places like the Huntington Hotel are using recycled water wherever they can.
California will now put up $300 million for cities and counties to apply for in order to start, and in many cases enhance, water recycling. It is all part of the governor's massive mandate: Cut water usage statewide by 25 percent and get it done in the next 10 months.