Following one of the worst droughts California has ever seen, experts are strongly advising that a long-term strategy for water use be implemented. The state currently has a quarter of its normal snowpack and water scarcity is expected to become a growing concern in California.
Scientists have also went on to attest that the effects of climate change may be devastating to California with more frequent and prolonged droughts to be expected in the future. Freshwater sources in California also stem largely from Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins, which have lost significant amounts of water already in the past few years.
Since 2011, the river basins have lost about 20-cubic-kilometers of freshwater and are now at their lowest point (in terms of water level) in the past decade.
The scarcity of water in California has alarmed many people and the government has already implemented programs to lower water usage. Accordingly, Governor Jerry Brown has urged the people of California to reduce their water usage by 20%.
The state has also proposed strict changes in their water policies to try to enact a short-term approach to the drought-stricken state. These policies include “moving toward comprehensive groundwater management, more treatment and reuse of wastewater, more use of storm water, more water efficiency improvements and adjusting water prices to fully cover associated costs.”
However, with the long-term projections of freshwater availability in California, the state will have to implement long-term solutions to the problem.
Because of the effects that water scarcity will have on the agricultural sector, which is heavily tied into the domestic economy, United States President Barack Obama has announced that he plans to appropriate funds towards the drought in California. On February 14, Obama proposed a 1 billion fund to alleviate the future impacts of climate change across the U.S.; he has also pledged 183 million towards drought relief programs in California.
After unusual weather events across the globe, including the heat wave in Australia, America’s polar vortex, flooding in Europe and the drought in California, the president has recently made steps to push his agenda on climate change. Especially focusing on rural America, Obama has also made steps to ensure the future of American agriculture, a sector that is already being heavily threatened by climate change impacts through various weather events.
The federal funds proposed by Obama are expected to become frequent as time progresses due to the projections of increasing severity in weather related events. In addition to the environmental stability that climate change threatens, economic stability is of the greatest concerns. Both short-term and long-term solutions will be required because problems are already evident, and they are expected to get significantly worse.
As stated by Obama, “A changing climate means that weather-related disasters like droughts, wildfires, storms, floods are potentially going to be costlier and they’re going to be harsher.”
– Jugal Patel