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California Drought

No Doubt about the Drought California's Parched Predicament K KATHLEENKOWAL.COM Droughts are a natural part of our climate, even without the complication of climate change, which has the potential to significantly alter the patterns of both water availability and demand in the coming years. Through studies of tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, researchers have The two most severe mega-droughts in California were a 240-year-long drought that started in 850 and, then another starting in 1140 lasting at least 180 years. documented multiple droughts in California. 850-1090 C.E. 1140-1320 C.E. 60 In 2013, CA received less rain than 59 58 57 in any year since it became a state in 1850. 56 1895 2015 Annual Mean Temperature in CA slowly increasing. This excess heat dries up water in the air and on the ground. D4 D3 More than 75% of California remains in "extreme" drought (D3), and nearly 40% of the state is in "exceptional" drought (D4). Snow-pack is at 12% of typical levels for end of winter. California has 40 reservoirs with a total 8 trillion gallon capacity 100% Typically by February, they are at 64% capacity. so%- Feb 2015 they were at 40% capacity. Agriculture Meets Water Consumption Some people think that population growth is the main driver of water demand statewide, but it's actually agriculture. In an average year, CA farmers use 80% of the water consumed by people and businesses. 2/3 77,900 CA farms & ranches Over of fruits & nuts /3 of vegetables Of CA's approx. 100 million Receive $46.4 billion acres of land in US are produced in CA. 43 million Agriculture is only 3% for their acres are output used for agriculture. of CA's GDP Top Valued Commodities: Data taken from 2013 Crop Report Milk Almonds Wine Beef Strawberries Walnuts Lettuce Tomatoes Revenue Generated in 2013 $7.6B $5.8B $5.B6 $3B $2.2B $1.8B $1.7B $1.2B # of Gallons of water Needed 1,020 gal 1,929 gal 872 gal 1,847 gal >50 gal 1,260 gal 13 gal 26 gal to Produce 1lb or 1 gal of product 1 gallon 1 lb 1 gallon 1 lb 1 lb 1 lb 1 lb 1 lb Effects of Drought $$$ Changes or decreases in agricultural production could cause economic Cost of water will increase hardship in affected regions. Farmers with senior water rights could make a huge profit selling water to cities. Small towns and small farms unable to afford it would suffer the most. Wildfires will be more frequent or severe. The generation of hydroelectricity will drop dramatically causing more use of fossil fuels to keep up with demand. Wildlife is also affected by drought. - Habitats can be devastated by wildfires - The lack of water and food could: - diminishes populations - drive them into more urban areas drive them into closer quarters with each other, making them more susceptible to both spread of disease and predators. In the case of salmon their eggs require cold water and turbulent water to provide cover, both of which are lacking in a drought. Dealing With Drought In the past, water conservation programs and educational efforts have temporarily cut urban water use by between 10-25% depending on the programs and level of effort. Urban Water Rationing Programs & Restrictions: Golf Courses Shut Down No Filling Swimming Pools No Car Washing Incentives to Plant Natives No Watering/ Planting Lawns Progression of Drought As reservoir water gets used up, farms and ranches will make changes. Dig deeper for ground water Let land go fallow Change what plants are grown or what animals are kept (after a certain point, cost of digging would exceed value of crops) If That's not Enough... Worst case scenario, waste water recycling and desalination plants will be built. Why is desal a worst case scenario? than what California Because the water from desal plants cost up to pays for water now. more KATHLEENKOWAL.COM

California Drought

shared by kathleenmkowal on May 17
California’s Parched Predicament. This infographic covers: 1) the history of droughts in California, 2) current water-levels and conditions, 3) the consumption of water by the agricultural industry ...


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