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Home > Natural Resources > Water Strategies to Preserve Natural Resource Supplies and Quality

No Rain for SoCal Until September! Extreme Drought Conditions

SoCal's drought is making global headlines

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"Nature never intended to support this many people here," said David Nahai, president of the board of the city's water and power commissioners. "If we have two years like we have now then we will have to take some drastic measures. But we're not pushing the panic button."

Los Angeles' and Southern California's drought is making global headlines. According to the UK Guardian...

Drought FACT ONE

Los Angeles has recorded just 3.21in of rain in the year ending June 30, making it the driest year on record since 1877. According to the National Drought Mitigation Centre, southern California faces "extreme drought" this year, with no rain forecast before September. One climatologist referred to the temperatures in Los Angeles as "Death Valley numbers".

Drought FACT TWO

The Sierra Nevada mountains, which typically provide Los Angeles with 50% of its water, have provided just 20% of their normal volume this year, and the snowpack is at its lowest for 20 years. Pumping from an aquifer in the San Fernando Valley was stopped this month because it was contaminated with chromium 6.

Drought FACT THREE

While the waters dry up, demand for the scarce resource increases. Not only has southern California seen a growth in its population of two-to-four times the national average in the past 50 years, but neighbouring states such as Nevada and Arizona are also experiencing population booms. And they all claim water from the same source, the Colorado River.

MANDATORY PROSPECTS

  • hosepipe bans
  • restrictions on car washing
  • restrictions on irrigating lawns, golf courses and parks
"It's disgusting that Los Angeles parks and golf courses are being irrigated with potable water," says Nahai. "We have to re-educate people about living here."

INNOVATION NEEDED

"We spend $1 billion to import water and $500,000 to throw local rain water into the ocean," Melanie Winter, of the LA-based River Project said. "In 30 years we may be able to provide 65% of our drinking water locally rather than 15%."

REFERENCE: UK based "Guardian"

... and the response from our California Green Solutions editorial perspective:

SoCal Drought LOGICAL EXPECTATIONS

1. More fires. Then more mudslides and floods.
2. Heat exhaustion of outdoor workers, sports enthusiasts and vulnerable populations
3. More asthma episodes
4. More deaths from heat
5. Lower agricultural harvests
6. Stressed and dying landscapes
7. More polluted runoff due to concentrations
8. Lower water tables...and salt water incursions

WATER STRATEGIES for TODAY

  1. Water your landscape ONCE very deeply, then add thick mulch...and hope for the best as you conserve water through the coming dry season
  2. Research additional water-saving techniques for your landscape through your local Extension Center, California Department of Natural Resources, California Department of Conservation...and Association of Landscaping Professionals.
  3. Clean your vehicles with a dust brush...not water.
  4. Hook up to "recycled water" for all possible applications.
  5. Reduce electricity usage -- it is closely tied to water production.
  6. Ask employees to reach out to elderly neighbors to insulate their homes, make sure they have emergency water supplies, and cooling fans.
  7. Distribute information about water conservation to all your employees, vendors, customers and neighbors. Let's pull together.
  8. Reformulate, redesign and do your part to permanently reduce your water usage. This water scarcity problem isn't going away for Southern California.
  9. Use semipermeable concrete, cache basins and swales etc. to prepare for catching and filtering the coming stormwater onslaught. Your early action will help replenish our precious water table.
  10. Use heat exchange processes to catch and use condensation from manufacturing and hot water applications.
  11. ... get as creative as possible. Together we can help reduce the impact of our water shortage...during droughts and in between.
  12. Make water conservation a policy-level strategy. Your bottom line and your quality of life are both affected.
  13. Appreciate the true value of fresh water. For everyone. For all life. For the earth's "green collar" workload.



    Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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    | water conservation | drought | southern california | california | water supply |

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