Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ongoing Crisis in California: What Does It Mean?

The crisis in California continues as new concerns that even an El Niño event, if one even occurs, won't be enough to undo the damage currently being done to the coast. There's a lot of buzz about the situation on the news events and the drought images certainly keep cropping up in social media. But what does it mean?
US Drought Monitor

First, like any news stories, there's a certain amount of buzz words and hype that occur over and over again. In news, its certainly important to grab headlines and often alarmist rhetoric makes the job easier.

So, first off, is the situation as severe as the news makes it out?

Yes. The current drought in California is a big deal. The word 'unprecedented' is often used but in this case, the drought levels are unlike any situation previously seen.

Although there are many news articles available in print and on the web, there are also government and research agencies that track climate issues. For the drought, there's an organization, the US Drought Monitor that provides a wealth of information on up-to date conditions across the United States. The organization provides a weekly map of conditions and is produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Department of Agriculture and the National Drought Mitigation Center.

They provide an ongoing narrative as well here that explains in greater detail the fluctuations on the maps and, more importantly, what that means. In the case of California, it explains that the recent welcome rain, though providing a respite, is no where close to alleviating the concerns about the receding ground water.

What does it mean for the future? Well, latest reports indicate that California is very likely to enact the very first water use restrictions on a state-wide level. The restrictions will dictate the acceptable water use and rations and will likely institute fines for those caught breaking the rules. Will it be enough to cope with the on-going drought? Time will tell.

Check out the rest of our blog for ways that you can save water and contribute! Comment below and tell us what you think.

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