The Drought in California

Studies show that the drought California is currently experiencing has been the worst drought in this region for the last 1,200 years.

This shortage of water was first recorded in early 2011, and was believed to be a continuation of a border drought that hit the Southwest beginning in 1999. However, the drought in California seems to be hitting a new low.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, around 80% of California is considered to be in extreme drought. And according to the state Department of Water Resources, reservoirs in the state are only 58% as full as they usually are during this time of the year.

Despite the recent floodings in California, many experts think it will take about 5 or 6 more big storms in order to counteract the drought. Although the Pacific storms, such as the Pineapple Express, provided a temporary relief to the intense drought in California, the drought is still intensifying and does not show promising signs of ending soon.

The exact amount of rainfall needed is still being debated, but experts agree that it will take a while to make up for 3 years of water shortage. Therefore, rain-filled January and February is more crucial than ever to reduce the severity of the drought. However, the recent rainfall, though not significantly, is helping to store some much needed water and shows promise for 2015.

Many dendrochronologists are positive that the U.S. will continue to experience droughts similar to California’s as well as increasing temperatures. Although the situation may be uncontrollable, there are many methods to preserve water during the meantime. From planting drought-resistant plants to taking shorter showers, there are numerous ways to help preserve H2O.

Extreme weather patterns seem to be spotted more and more over the years, therefore it is very critical to work together as a nation to help conserve and protect the environment, whether it is preserving water or something else.

Update #1: Facing another year of extreme drought, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced a $1 billion legislation to help ensure that all Californians have access to water supplies.

This “drought package” included $272 million for Proposition 1 Water Bond for safe drinking water and water recycling, accelerated $660 million for Proposition 1E, and accelerated $128 million to the budget to provide direct assistance to workers and communities impacted by drought and to implement the Water Action Plan.

This year, California has once again experienced a dry winter. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is near record low, with only 0.9 inches of water content in the snow. The only incident in which the water content of the snow has been lower was in 1991. And with summer approaching, it is more critical than ever to conserve and use water responsibly.

Update #2: On Thursday, May 21, vandals damaged a rubber dam located in Fremont, California, which held water for the Niles Cone Groundwater Basin. This resulted in 50 million gallons of water being released into the San Francisco bay. According to the Alameda County Water District, the water lost was equivalent to a year’s supply for 500 households, and amounted to around $3 million. The police were still trying to identify the vandals, who will likely face thousands in fines and jail time for destroying the dam.