By Jason Neet
Thousands of people have been affected by a major drought in California. Water levels are dwindling and the states funding for water is almost out.
The reason that this drought is going on is that California goes through a rainy season and then it goes through a very hot dry season. Now what is happening is that for several years California has missed its rainy season and stayed dry with only a couple days of rain all year. The mixture of heat and lack of rain is causing the water supply to plummet.
This drought isn’t bad just because people need to drink water, shower, or wash their hands but it is bad for the farms. Farmers use thousands of acres of land for planting crops which need gallons upon gallons of water to keep hydrated, especially during the dry seasons. Some of the farmers, such as rice farmers according to NBC News are considering selling water rather than growing the rice they want to sell it because they would gain about $700 an acre which is more than they get from rice. This lack of water is causing farms to lose hundreds of acres to dry soil. California has also had to raise the price of water making farmers have to cut back on acres or else they will lose profit which is bad for them but it is also bad for the community.
According to ca.gov which is Californias government website, a company by the name of Caltrans, one of the largest departments of landscaping, is investing $47 million into upgrading and repairing over 1,000 irrigation systems and sprinklers and adding in something called a smart sprinkler which uses water depending on soil, weather conditions, broken pipes, etc. They say that this has proved to cut water use by 50%. Caltrans is investing $8 million into four water recycling projects in San Luis Obispo, Shasta and San Diego. Caltrans is doing many other things to preserve water use too.
According to The New York Times, scientists have done studies showing that it is not just climate change causing this drought, but that global warming has sped it up. They have also said that this drought is possibly the worst to have happened in the state of California in over 1,000 years.
One thing that is being done to limit or lower the usage of water in California right now is the use of electronic highway message signs saying things such as “Severe Drought. Limit Outdoor Watering.” Also, the state is doing things like having people inform them on the ca.gov website if there is a broken water pipe or irrigation pipe, so that they can be fixed/looked at as soon as possible. According to the NPR in the city of Santa Barbara they banned watering of lawns completely and hired water police to enforce these laws. They say that some residents have even painted their lawns green so they wouldn’t look brown from the dead grass. They also stated that back in 1991 they had tried to propose many ideas for ways to get more water and one way they come up with was to make a $35 million desalination which turned seawater into drinkable water, but this plan was canceled when California had what they called the March Miracle which was 30 inches of rain in one month, double what they usually get in a year. They have said that Santa Barbara is reopening this desalination plant, but that two gallons goes in and only one comes out.
This drought may not just be affecting California but may cause vegetable and farm grown food to raise in price around the US.