Free California Drought Essay Sample
Water is one of the world’s most precious resources. It is important to every living thing. California is experiencing serious water crisis, in combination with a drought that lasted over three years. With the amount of people who are moving to California, there is a water shortage to satisfy the most the basic needs of water. California’s worsening drought has presented a serious water crisis that has posed a challenge to the state since the last century began. This is not the first drought to has struck California.
Subsequent droughts have also wreaked havoc on crops, cattle, human and other life-forms that require water. Between 1928 and 1935, a drought that was referred to as the ‘dust bowl’ drought, was a long and severe one. Water levels continuously dropped, fruits prematurely fell off the trees and especially those crops that depended on the rain, instead of irrigation. Suitable pastures were sought for cattle during this drought by livestock owners. Ranch owners had to resort to calling on the Humane Society to rescue horses and other livestock in instances where there was not enough water for them to survive.
In many cases, they were too far gone to survive. Reservoir and waterworks projects were embarked upon, with an aim to provide a reliable water supply for California. Another drought that struck California occurred between 1976 and 1977. Based on a federal report, the losses that were experienced by ranchers and farmers were in excess of one billion dollars. Farmers resorted to growing crops that required less water and pumped groundwater aggressively, the report stated ('Climate change: California drought linked to humans', 2014).
Many feared that the drought would have caused crippling effects to the water system of the state. In effect, the drought had effectively tested their water supply. The results showed that the system they had in place was inadequate, and was not as effective as they had anticipated.
The greatest legacy of that drought was the marking of the beginning of serious efforts for water conservation, which continued even after the ending of the crisis. The water use in Southern California was reduced by 15 percent. This brought on a statewide campaign, rationing in the Bay Area, which was one of the areas that were hard hit, assisted in convincing the residents that there was a real crisis. Customers of the Metropolitan Water District who refrained from cutting their water consumption by 10 percent were subject to a surcharge, while in Los Angeles and other cities, mandatory conservation was imposed (Boland, Berk, LaCivita, Sredl & Cooley, 1983).
Between 1987 and 1993, for the first time since the 1976 drought, officials were driven to impose mandatory measures of conservation because of the dry conditions. Studies at that time, placed losses in agriculture at a high of 250 million per year, while the infestation of insects as a result of water shortage, was reported by foresters, to have killed trees that were enough to have built approximately 1.8 million houses. The trickling flows were blamed for the almost-devastating effects of the salmon population of California’s State. So too, were the degrading effects on the Sacramento’s San Joaquin Delta (Fahrenkamp-Uppenbrink, 2015).
In all of this, experts ascertained that the impact that it posed to the economy were significantly less than what was anticipated. The governor of the State, Pete Wilson, eventually declared that the drought ended in 1993, after the levels in the reservoirs were at 80 percent. Even before that declaration, cities in California were loosening their water restrictions, so the concern that was present at the time, about the residents easing up on their conservation efforts was unfounded.
Residents were warned about taking water for granted, or believing that an over-abundance of water would always be available. One official stated that it was nature and the cycles could sometimes be devastatingly short. The residents were implored to take actions that could save water and increase the enforcement that was now in place, in order to prevent water wasting. They were also asked to streamline the drought response of the state and try their best to invest in new technologies that would result in California being more drought-resistant (Venton, 2015).
Agricultural requirements takes up around 80 percent of California’s water consumption, the greatest amount of savings would come from residents who reduced the water they use for agricultural purposes and industrial operations. Whether or not a drought exists in California, the water demands of humans and ecology are not in alignment with California’s water supply. There is some amount of regularity of the drought cycle, it is ongoing and an important feature of the climate that is expected to continue in the future.
However, the intensity, frequency and periods of drought can be somewhat affected by climate change. To address the water woes in California, tenacious attention would have to be paid to long-term solutions. While there are some important issues that are amplified by the drought, it also poses a danger that the necessary tactics that are needed to fight against the effects of drought can cause a distraction from the strategies that would help to prepare for the drought in the long term (Seidel, 2014).
Where knowledge and understanding is concerned, human nature dictates that the advances in knowledge that were as a result of investments in science would be forgotten. The effects of a drought are multi-dimensional and complex and sometimes not so obvious. Both the societal and human dimensions of water challenges are as complex and as important as the natural dimensions, so a thorough analysis of the drought conditions may be necessary.
Boland, J., Berk, R., LaCivita, C., Sredl, K., & Cooley, T. (1983). Water Shortage: Lessons in Conservation from the Great California Drought. Journal Of Policy Analysis And Management, 2(2), 308. doi:10.2307/3323305
Climate change: California drought linked to humans. (2014). Nature, 509(7498), 10-10. doi:10.1038/509010b
Fahrenkamp-Uppenbrink, J. (2015). California drought worst in the past millennium. Science, 347(6222), 624-624. doi:10.1126/science.347.6222.624-a
Seidel, A. (2014). California Drought Prompts Water-Saving Practices. OPF, 40(4), 10-13. doi:10.5991/opf.2014.40.0023
Venton, D. (2015). How California can survive the drought. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2015.17265