You’re probably wondering why this article is even necessary, considering the California drought was officially announced to have ended last year. It’s important to understand it, however, because many scientists actually predict warmer times ahead.
To start with, what caused the California drought that lasted between 2011 and 2016? The simplest explanation s that it simply didn’t rain enough. Many reasons were brought forth by expert minds to explain this, ranging from climate change to water conditions off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The truth, however, is that it hasn’t been raining enough in California for many years. This, coupled with the immense amount of agriculture that is produced in California, works to extend the situation further.
You may even be wondering where California gets its water from, considering the fact that it doesn’t get much rain to start with. Even when it rains, not much of this water makes its way to the aquifers underground, so it doesn’t even get preserved. This is because much of California is concrete or hard ground. Los Angeles alone is 65 percent covered in pavement.
Most of the water in California comes from snowmelt. When it rains or snows at the high elevations in California mountain ranges, a snowpack is created, which then melts and becomes water for everyday use. Additionally, groundwater forms the largest part of the state’s water reservoirs.
With scientists predicting higher temperatures going forward, things will only get worse. California isn’t currently in a drought but, the next one, which will eventually come, will be much worse than the one that’s just ended.
What Can You Do About It?
You’re probably wondering what you can do about the situation since you’re neither a regulator nor a farmer. As it turns out, there’s plenty. Here are some helpful measures you can take to help preserve California’s water:
- Eat less meat – Yes, you heard me right. Most of the beef in California is fed on alfalfa, which consumes a large amount of water when it is grown. Additionally, alfalfa has no use other than feeding livestock. That means that cutting down on meat will probably lead to less demand for livestock and less alfalfa being grown. You don’t have to go full vegan or vegetarian. Try reducing your meat intake to one meal a day, then twice a week, and so on.
- Try alternative landscaping for your lawn – Almost everyone agrees that watering the grass excessively in a state where water is in short supply is a wasteful activity. Yet, your lawn needs to be watered for your home to look nice. So, what do you do? Have you heard of xeriscaping? This is landscaping with xerophytes, which are plants that use a lot less water than regular grass. Think cacti and other succulents. In fact, in some cities, you’ll get a rebate if you replace the grass on your lawn with these plants.
- Fix your leaks – The amount of water lost from poor plumbing tends to add up over time. Get your Los Angeles pool specialist or San Jose plumbing service on speed dial and ask them to check everything in your home for leaks — everything from the swimming pool and hot tub to the showers and sinks. This is especially necessary if you have a pool, which is already arguably a waste of water. You might as well make sure you’re not making it worse by having one that leaks.
- Showers, not baths – You use up to 50 gallons of water in the average single bath. A typical shower, on the other hand, usually requires only 25 gallons. These days, there are even shower heads that have been designed to reduce the flow of water until it heats up so you can still shower while you wait for the warm water to run. Also, remember to make those showers brief. Otherwise, you’ll be defeating the whole purpose.
No one knows how long it will be before the next drought occurs, exactly how long that one will last, or how bad it will be. It’s a pretty serious issue, however, because NASA launched a satellite into space just to monitor the weather situation in California. Ultimately, the best way to handle the situation is to adapt like humans always have.