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Friday, January 17, 2014

California Faces Severe Drought

From USA Today:
In what could become one of California's biggest crises in years, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought emergency Friday, an action that sets the stage for new state and federal efforts.

The governor also wants to focus Californians on the possibility of water shortages.

... The northern Sierra has a snowpack that's only 8% of normal for this date, according to the latest measurements released Thursday from the California Department of Water Resources. The central Sierra is at 16% of normal; the southern Sierra at 22%. Last year at this time, snowpack was normal or exceeded it.

The mountain snowpack, while a boon for Lake Tahoe ski resorts, also acts like a reservoir during winter and early spring, providing the state with its biggest and most reliable water supply.

Brown is urging voluntary water conservation to the tune of a 20% reduction. But he stopped short of saying such a reduction should be mandatory — for now, at least.

"We ought to be ready for a long, continuous, persistent effort," including the possibility of drinking-water shortages, he said. "I think the drought emphasizes that we do live in an era of limits, that nature has its boundaries."
Declaring a drought emergency isn't impressive. We'll know it is a serious problem when they shut off the water to golf courses.

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