A Parched California

In January, a State of Emergency was declared by Governor Edmund G. Brown of California in response to a drought that the state is currently facing.  With this being one of the most severe droughts on record, State officials have been directed to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages.


Photo courtesy: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

California has been dealing with the effects of drought for more than two years.  Water shortage in the state not only affects  human health and safety, but also California’s large agriculture industry.  In addition, water is needed to fight fires and protect fish and wildlife.

Unfortunately, the region was dealt another blow this winter: the lowest ever snowpack in recorded history.  This means that the drought is not likely to end any time in the near future.

The state will be taking action and hopes to save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasted water, streamline California’s drought response, and invest in new technologies that will help combat drought in the future.

An executive order issued by the governer outlines the strategies that will be used to carry out these actions.  These strategies include long term plans like replacing 50 million square feet of California lawn with drought tolerant landscaping, a consumer rebate program to replace traditional appliances with more water and energy efficient ones, and requiring agricultral operations to report water use data.

Short term strategies are also being considered such as attempting to change the behavior of California residents by encouraging them to save water and raising prices based on the amount of water they consume.  However, the long term goals will be much more useful in California.  Even without the problem of climate change, droughts are a natural part of the California climate.  In order to reduce California’s vulberability to extreme drought it is going to take more than a few temporary fixes.

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