Thursday, January 8, 2015

Water is California's Real Problem

California is in the midst of a four-year drought.  Despite the several days of heavy rain in mid-December 2014, rainfall and snow pack water content are way below normal.  As of January 6, 2015 (with no rain in the forecast for the next 10 days), the water content of the Sierra snow pack is at 43% of normal for this time of the year, and only 17% of the average for April 1.

Trees are beginning to die across the state and even revered redwoods are showing signs of illness.

Indeed, one of California's most famous theme songs California Here I Come will be giving way to the Cowboy ballad Cool Water.

Unlike oil and gas, there is no national market for water.  California's water supply is a mixture of federal, state, and private sources, some of which derives from out of state.  The politics of water is extremely partisan, with cities electing Democrats and farming areas Republicans.

The water bond approved by the state legislature in 2014 will have little impact on short-run water supplies.

If high pressure off the coast continues to block the moisture-laden winter jet stream this year and beyond, more of the state will revert to desert, fire danger will worsen, and both oaks and redwood will die in large numbers.

You can follow the situation on the first link above.