California is facing its third year of drought, mainly driven by a shortage of rainfall.
“In most places, we are missing an entire year of rain over the past three years,” Jan Null, a meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services in Half Moon Bay, told the Mercury News. “It’s like if you worked three years but only got paid for two. You are going to be hurting.”
Over the three-year period that ended June 30th, most Northern California cities received only about half to two-thirds of their historical average rainfall, according to data that Null compiled. And each passing year without soaking, winter rains have been steadily drying the state out a little more — further dropping reservoirs, parching soils and forests, and depleting groundwater.
In response to urgent calls for conservation, Californians are beginning to reduce water use, but officials say it’s not enough amid a severe drought.
Peter Gleick, co-founder and senior fellow of the Pacific Institute, told the Los Angeles Times, “We’re going to see reservoirs continue to fall; we’re going to see more and more wells drying up in the Central Valley as groundwater continues to be over-pumped; we’re going to see deaths of salmon in the Sacramento River,” he said. “The things that we see every time there’s a drought in California, we’re going to continue to see as long as we’re not able to change the way we manage and use water.”
To learn more about the drought and proposed solutions, check out the Rebuild SoCal Zone Podcast, where we’ve launched a mini-series focused on California’s Water Crisis.
In the first episode, host Jon Switalski speaks with Karla Nemeth, Director of the California Department of Water Resources. Nemeth discusses the role climate change plays in the drought, new emergency water regulations put forth by the State Water Resources Control Board, and efforts to recycle water.
In the second episode, host Marci Stanage speaks with Deven Upadhyay, Chief Operating Officer and Assistant General Manager at the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). The two discuss water reuse, the benefits of recycled water, and conservation efforts.
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