What would happen if there was a drought in California?
Over the last several months there has been a lot of talk in the water industry about how to deal with drought, but it has seemed to be focused on the future, maybe next year if the dry weather continues.
Suddenly, the preparations became very real when the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the US Bureau of Reclamation released their joint Drought Operation Plan for the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project (CVP). It is a rich read for water policy wonks.
Bottom line is that there is very little fresh water coming down from the mountains over the next several months. Things won’t look normal. As you drive the highways and byways of California, you won’t be seeing a lot of water in the creeks and rivers that usually cross the roads at various points from Fresno to Shasta.
What little water does come from the highest points of the mountains will be “managed” to try to keep a little water in the various dams and canals to keep some farms growing and some wildlife alive.
It is a serious plan, with likely serious consequences. It is a historically rare, but welcome, instance of seemingly effective collaboration between the state and federal agencies. Hopefully, the cooperation can continue in the future.
While most residents of California know it has been especially dry the last few years, many don’t understand the detailed implications for just how serious the drought is.
The “D word” is likely going to become very prominent as summer temperatures arrive and the cost of food continues to climb.
Yes, the 2014 California drought is real!
Just how far away is the Columbia River, anyway? [Just kidding Oregon cousins]