California is 2/3 into the wet season, the time of the year when we are supposed to get the most rain.
Though we finally have rain — and rain is in the forecast for many parts of California this weekend — it would have to rain every other day until May of this year to get our water to normal levels (see press conference video from California Department of Water Resources at the bottom of this post).
With most of California’s water going towards irrigation needs for 10 million acres of farmland, and because California grows nearly half of all fruits, nuts and vegetables in the United States, our worst drought on record will surely have a ripple ffect for the rest of the U.S. in terms of the cost and availability of produce and nuts.
Droughts increase our wildfire and firestorm risks, and as of the end of January, 2014 there were already 400 fires across the state compared to ZERO fires in January of 2013.
And now for the first time in the 54 year history of the California State Water Project (SWP) – the largest state-built and operated multipurpose water and power system in the United States — no water will be released for urban and agricultural uses. This means that water allocation to all 29 public water agencies in California is being cut from 5% to zero, except for human health and safety needs.
So even with the expected rain this weekend, our state still face severe water problems and California residents need to get serious and creative with water conservation efforts to continue to address our continuing drought emergency.
Information on the latest in water-efficient technology from faucets to toilet fixtures available on the California Urban Water Conservation Council website
Most recent press conference posted on YouTube from California Department of Water Resources below:
- California has approximately 100 million acres of land. Of this total, 43 million acres are used for agriculture (16 million acres are grazing land and 27 million acres are cropland).
- California’s State Water Project (SWP) is recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the outstanding engineering achievements of the 20th Century
The California State Water Project, the largest state-built and operated multipurpose water and power system in the United States, includes 34 storage facilities, 20 pumping plants, four pumping-generating plants, five hydroelectric powerplants, and approximately 701 miles of canals, tunnels, and pipelines including the 444-mile California Aqueduct. For more, visit the California Department of Water Resources website, here.
- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for the latest fire incidents, and links to information and statistics on most damaging, deadliest and largest wildfires in California