As it seems, the drought in California is nowhere near over. There were great expectations that the state’s groundwater and surface supplies would be replenished. However, the hype was all that – just hype.
The rain and snow that fell mostly on the northern parts of the state were merely average. But average is a welcomed result. It is better than nothing. The snowpack is visible again in the Sierra and the water levels in most reservoirs are beginning to rise again. Unfortunately, though, average is not going to solve the drought in California.
Drought is Beyond Being Seasonal
The reality of the situation is that the water scarcity in California is not just a seasonal thing. The state is using up more water than the resources can provide. Drought may come and go, that is its nature. There may be some fluctuations on the duration and the frequency but drought ends eventually. And it is this nature that makes people feel a false sense of security when it comes to water supply.
Water Supply Can No Longer Meet the Demands
The worse part of California’s water scarcity is that it has a very productive agricultural industry that is a bottomless pit in terms of its need for water supplies. The demands are more than what the state’s surface water in reservoirs and rivers can supply. Over the years, the water resources have continued to decrease. Over 3 million acre-feet annually is being lost in California’s major basins.
Another reality about the water scarcity is that although the drought will eventually end, even with California’s groundwater and surface supplies, the state will continue to lose water. There is just not enough water to feed the state’s demands.
A Global Phenomenon
This reality is not limited to California alone. There are many states in America that is experiencing this water scarcity already. Most of the regions affected by it are the food-producing regions which includes the southern High Plains. These places utilize more water than what is available annually on renewable terms. This goes the same for other places in the world such as China, India, and the Middle East.
Moving Towards the Extremes
Recently, there are studies that show that even the patterns of rainfall all over the world are also changing. Wet tropical regions are getting all the more wet, and the dry places are getting drier. What this means for the dry places is that the demands continue to increase but the opportunity when it comes to replenishing the water supplies are decreasing. This pattern is now being felt in the U.S., especially in California where it is located in the part of the world that is becoming drier.
Eventually, the drought in California will end. However, it is a fact that there are things that will be beyond our control. Dry areas will get drier. The demands for water will still continue to rise. The changing climate will be affecting us all. California now has the opportunity to lead the way in acting quickly in pursuing innovations when it comes to addressing the scarcity in water. There is still hope and we are equipped with technologies and the right governance to manage the resources well and make it last, hopefully, for a long time.