URGENT: California Drought

By Kell Klopp

What is California facing?

Let's define a drought. There is, in fact, no universal definition of a drought. But, we understand it as an extended time period during which there is a below-average rainfall that, in turn, impacts the environment, people, and agriculture of a particular region.
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Greenhouse gases. Yes, those greenhouse gases that you have heard about time and again from climate scientists. It turns out that greenhouse gases are linked to the relentless high-pressure systems that are blocking California rains. Yet another one of their unfortunate effects on the global climate. Of course, one must take into account the effect of climate change since, in some way or another, it has played a role in the increased change in temperature. It has been acknowledge by scientists that is it hard to pinpoint the exact role of climate change and weather events, but it has come down to two main ideas. First, scientists believe the Pacific Ocean may be causing the whack precipitation changes in California. Second, evidence has also shown that the warmer atmosphere will lead to more brutal and frequent droughts in the future. We must realize that this is happening! And the issue must be addressed right now.

What do Climatologists have to say?

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The current drought in California has lasted 15 years. As of current, 80% of California's freshwater supply is used to supply agriculture. It has been predicted that this drought could last up to 200 years. (The photos above are taken from Oroville, California. The before picture is from July 20, 20111 and the after was taken on August 19th, 2014.)
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California State Government Response

On July 28th, 2014, the sprinklers outside of the California's State Capital were turned off. A small act, but a powerful message. It is clear the the California State Government is taking action against this drought. State prisons have been pushed to enforce shorter showers. There has been a reduction of showers available to campers in state parks. Even Governor Jerry Brown took charge on this matter by requiring local water agencies to replenish underground aquifers that have been depleted. Though farmers will likely have to meter their wells, and some may be forced to cease or dramatically reduce pumping, this will all help towards addressing the drought. It is clear that California's government has really taken charge of and begun enforcing restrictions to address the drought.

The California's Public Response

Governor Brown called upon the California public to try and decrease their water use by 20%. In response, UC Irvine faculty, staff, and students began writing their ideas of how to reduce their water footprints on the Pledge Tree.

Scientists and Government officials alike have been trying to make it apparent to everyone how severe this drought it. Through Instagram and Twitter, people have been tagging @TheUCCHM with the hashtags #DroughtResponseFail and #WaterWatchDogs, in hopes to create a more water-efficient community.

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Take your pick

  • Take shorter showers (5 minutes instead of 10)
  • Install a water-efficient clothes washer (saves up to 16 gallons a load!)
  • Let your pots and pans soak, instead of rinsing them off
  • Pick up a broom to clean the sidewalk, driveway, and patios instead of a hose
  • Turn your faucet off while brushing your teeth
  • Run your washing machines only when they are full
  • If you drop an ice cube don't throw it away! Put it in a house plant that needs water
  • Have your toilets and sinks checked for leaking
  • Plug your sink while shaving instead of letting the water run
  • Don't overwater your lawn and plants

Be smart. Let's make a difference! We don't want this to be our new state flag!

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