Sunday, July 27, 2014

Droughts in California and other Regions

  • Last week, the California Department of Water Resources reported that water levels at 10 of the state's 12 major reservoirs had dropped below 50% of their total capacity, with several nearing the 20% level.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 80% of California is in a state of either an Exceptional or Extreme drought level, with 18% at Severe level. In addition, the recently released study Economic Analysis of the 2014 Drought for California Agriculture said “California is enduring its third driest year on record as agricultural, urban and environmental demands for water are at an all-time high” and “the total statewide economic cost of the 2014 drought is $2.2 billion, with a total loss of 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs.” 
  • Across the contiguous U.S, 31% of the country is in a moderate to extreme level of drought. Globally, Asia drought has intensified on the Indian sub-continent, in north-central Russia, in Japan, and in the Middle East.  In Africa, drought has increased in equatorial AfricaMadagascar and South Africa. In South America, drought persists around the equator and in areas of Brazil. In Australia, it is spreading to cover more of the East.  
  • Unlike hurricanestornados and earthquakes, drought is a natural disaster that evolves over an extended period of time.  While they generate fewer new headlines, a drought's social, economic and environmental impact can affect a region for years.
  • Unless conditions improve in California and elsewhere, conflicts may increase between those seeking water uses for swimming pools; fountains, golf courses and lawn care and those seeking to grow agricultural crops and raise livestock.  
  • As some communities consider ways to reduce unnecessary water use, a nice green lawn may become a sign that you are part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.
  • Conservation is important!

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