Governor Jerry Brown says the drought in California is proof of the changing climate.
According to Gov. Jerry Brown, the severe drought the state has been experiencing, which is in its fourth year, proves that climate change not only exists, but that it is happening right now and the water crisis in California “is a wake-up call” for both the state and for the rest of the country, which depends on California for a substantial portion of its vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Residents and municipalities of California were ordered to cut water usage by 25%.
Last week, Gov. Brown announced new rules regarding water usage for California residents and municipalities. The goal of these new rules is to cut water usage by 25%. Water suppliers must now adjust pricing to give Californians incentive to conserve water and to also prevent them from engaging in wasteful habits like frequently washing cars or taking long showers. In addition, residents have been restricted when it comes to flushing toilets and watering lawns. Meanwhile, cities are not to water the decorative grass on street medians. These new rules are estimated to save the state 500 billion gallons of water from now until February 2016.
That being said, Brown’s new water policy has been criticized because agricultural producers, which combined use 80% of the state’s water supply, are exempt from the new rules. However, Brown defended his decision in an interview with ABC, saying that ranchers and farmers are “not watering their lawn or taking long showers.” He explained that “The farmers have fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of land,” and that they are “pulling up vines and trees. Farm workers who are very low end of the economic scale here are out of work. There are people in agriculture areas that are really suffering.”
The weather California has been experiencing could very likely be the result of climate change.
Snowpack is at a record low in California. In recent years, the disappearing snowpack and the lack of rainfall has resulted in the state’s water reservoirs steadily drying up. Historically, snowpack has renewed California’s water reservoirs every spring, but this spring it measured at just 8% of usual levels.
While some water experts predict that the state has enough water reserves to get it through two more years if the drought should persist for that long, other scientists say that California has only enough water for one more year. Either way, many researchers agree that climate change is likely to be an ongoing problem in California.