Is California’s drought a new normal? Here’s what Sacramento should do.

January 27, 2014 • Climate Change & Mitigation, United States, Daily Email Recap

Is California’s drought a new normal? Here’s what Sacramento should do.

Sacramento is not prepared for this latest drought.

We live in a fragile, beautiful place where two rivers converge, and are extremely fortunate compared to other parts of the state because, in most years, we have enough water.

Now, we face a difficult future. Not only have we just completed the driest year on record, we’ve also been growing in population and dealing with the concomitant increase in demand for water. The Folsom Reservoir is at a historic low; its operators have begun reducing its output to forestall the point at which some of the intake pipes for upstream cities will begin to pull in air instead of water.

At the same time, we’ve been offered a vision of what our communities could look like without water. Across the country in West Virginia, a toxic leak left more than 300,000 people without access to water usable for anything but flushing down sewer pipes. Emergency drinking-water supplies helped, sure, but the economic consequences were devastating. Businesses and schools couldn’t function. Hospitals were in dire straits.

Water isn’t a luxury.

Our current situation must be taken seriously. Without foresight on the part of our government agencies-and plenty of assistance from the public-what is now an inconvenience could easily become a catastrophe.

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