California is still thirsty


The current “megadrought,” described as one of the worst droughts in California’s history, continues to blight California as major rainfall still refuses to fall on state soil.

This dry spell is currently in its third year and is part of a larger fifteen-year drought that will take place across western North America. In California, the drought has led to numerous wildfires, water restrictions, and potential losses in the agricultural industry.

The drought is predicted to have major repercussions on Californians in the near future. The National Science Foundation predicts that the state’s agricultural industry will lose upwards of $2.2 billion, and 17,000 Californians will lose their jobs in 2014 alone.

The water lost during the last year of the drought is not likely to be replenished during the rainy season of this coming winter. California normally experiences a rainy season from October to March, but the entire month of October this year was still mostly dry. Even if California experiences greater rainfall than usual for the rest of the winter months, California’s lakes and rivers will still be water deprived.

    The immediate effect of the lack of rainfall is reduced surface water flow of streams and rivers. Lack of flowing water has a multifaceted impact according to the US Geological Survey (USGS): hydropower production, navigation, recreation, and habitat for aquatic species will all face detrimental repercussions. In addition, as streams dry out, Californians will become increasingly dependent on groundwater below the Earth’s surface.