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Californians hoped that 2015 would be the end of the drought but were proved wrong when January brought dry, sunny weather. The severe drought that has been plaguing the state of California is now in its fourth year. More than 37 million Californians are affected by this drought, which started in 2012. Researchers suggest that this lack of precipitation is cause by a high pressure ridge formed over the Pacific Ocean, which blocks the precipitation from reaching California.
The lack of precipitation means that drinking water supplies are low. The state government has placed mandatory water restrictions on the people, directing them to conserve water by limiting the water used for watering lawns and washing driveways. Fish and animal populations are low as many of them have died because of water bodies drying up. The dry weather has also caused many wildfires to occur, damaging forests and wildlife. Farmers are losing their income because there isn’t enough water available for their crops. The price of fruits and vegetables will also rise in other states because California farms grow most of America’s produce. As a result of reduced water supply and high demand, water prices have increased. Power companies will not be able to generate hydroelectricity so citizens will also have to pay more for energy produced from fossil fuels.
In December of 2014, California received some much needed rainfall. The rains helped to ease the situation but it was not enough to pull the state out of drought. The water levels of major water bodies in California also increased during that time but the amount of water in these reservoirs are still below historical average. “We need a lot more rain and snow to pull us out of this drought, and unfortunately very little is on the horizon,” says Mark Cowin, the director of the state Department of Water Resources. The worst is expected for this year, since it is currently supposed to be California’s rainy season but no rain has fallen so far in the month of January.
As Canadians, there is a lot we can do to prepare for a situation such as extreme drought. The key is to conserve water and this can be accomplished by cutting our showers short, and running the washing machine and dishwasher only when there is a full load. Farmers can conserve water by installing drip-irrigation systems on their farms. People must try to be as sustainable as possible every day instead of waiting for when a situation strikes. Conserving water is important to the environment even if there is or isn’t drought.
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