Droughts are a serious threat to both the environment and the human population. California is currently facing a severe drought which has had several repercussions on the state, including a limited water supply, negative impact on agriculture, and an increase in forest fires sweeping the state. As a result, the state has been declared as being under a statewide drought emergency.
The drought currently plaguing California and several other Western states could possibly be labeled a megadrought. A megadrought is a period of dry weather which can endure a decade or longer (Rice 1). The current drought has lasted for three years with no end in sight. Rice notes that megadroughts are cyclical and have occurred in the past and that eventually, the drought will end (1).
The current drought has already had several impacts, the most notable of which is an increase in the number of wildfires in California. This year alone, Rice states that California has had approximately 1,000 more wildfires than is typical for the state (1). Wildfires are extremely dangerous and without an abundance of water, difficult to control.
In response to the drought, California has set forth several regulations in an attempt to conserve water. For one, residents and businesses are prohibited from using excessive water outdoors, such as that used to wash sidewalks and driveways. In addition, residents are prohibited from watering their lawns. While not a regulation, residents are being asked to limit their water use, including taking shorter showers and preventing as much water waste as possible.
The California drought is a serious concern for not only California residents, but the rest of the United States as well. It is hoped that the current drought does not turn into a megadrought and that soon the state will recover. In the meantime, regulations are being set forth to assist in water conservation until conditions improve.
- Rice, Doyle. “California’s 100 Year Drought”. USA Today. 3 September 2013. http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/09/02/california-megadrought/14446195/