California Drought Takes Lessons From Australia

Article originally written by Kristen Gelineau and Ellen Knickmeyer and appeared on Huffington Post SYDNEY (AP) — California has turned to the world's driest inhabited continent for solutions to its longest and sharpest drought on record.

Australia, the land poet Dorothea Mackellar dubbed "a sunburnt country," suffered a torturous drought from the late 1990s through 2012. Now Californians are facing their own "Big Dry," and looking Down Under to see how they coped.

Australia also faced tough water restrictions — along with dying cattle, barren fields and monstrous wildfires that killed 173 people. But when the rains finally returned, Australians had fundamentally changed how they handle this precious resource. They treat water as a commodity to be conserved and traded, and carefully measure what's available and how it's being used. Efficiency programs cut their average daily use to 55 gallons, compared with 105 gallons per day for each Californian...