Yesterday, the same day I wrote about California’s dire 3-year drought, California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. laid out the state’s plan regarding the water shortage in his annual State of the State address to the California legislature. It’s not the governor’s job to provide exhaustive detail here, and he doesn’t. The drought got about 15 of the speech’s 130 lines.
Here’s the part of the address about the drought:
Among all our uncertainties, weather is one of the most basic. We can’t control it. We can only live with it, and now we have to live with a very serious drought of uncertain duration.
Right now, it is imperative that we do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the drought. I have convened an Interagency Drought Task Force and declared a State of Emergency. We need everyone in every part of the state to conserve water. We need regulators to rebalance water rules and enable voluntary transfers of water and we must prepare for forest fires. As the State Water Action Plan lays out, water recycling, expanded storage and serious groundwater management must all be part of the mix. So too must be investments in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities. We also need wetlands and watershed restoration and further progress on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
It is a tall order.
But it is what we must do to get through this drought and prepare for the next.
We do not know how much our current problem derives from the build-up of heat-trapping gasses, but we can take this drought as a stark warning of things to come. The United Nations Panel on Climate Change says – with 95 percent confidence – that human beings are changing our climate. This means more droughts and more extreme weather events, and, in California, more forest fires and less snow pack.
UPDATE: California drought prompts first-ever “zero water allocation” – Los Angeles Times
Civilization Lost? California’s 500-Year Drought Potential (Jan. 22, 2014)