Droughts in California Facts: History of the California Droughts
The state of California has experienced many droughts throughout its history. How many droughts has California had, you may ask? No one can tell you the exact numbers, but what is certain is that there have been more than 15 California droughts in the past since the 1800s.
Water Droughts in California: Overview
California is the most populous state in the United States, and one of the first states to produce agricultural products. Every year, due to global warming and climate change (there was a recent article about the difference between these two concepts, so make sure you read it) occur hundreds of droughts .
California droughts get longer and hotter and have a detrimental effect on the state. In addition to the economic losses, the environment, animals, and people also suffer. So what causes droughts in California?
If you think that drought is only caused by natural phenomena, you are sorely mistaken. Drought can also be caused by economic or political actions. The people and farmers themselves can also cause drought. And sometimes the combination of all these factors causes natural disasters and droughts. Let’s discuss the causes of the past California droughts in more detail.
California Droughts Facts: Causes
Looking at the California droughts timeline, there was no rest from droughts. That is why today, all water in the state of California is strictly controlled by the government. The problem of the droughts in California is not new, so California has a very extensive network of pipelines throughout the state to promptly supply water to the driest cities and towns in the event of a drought. Even such a system does not save the state from economic and environmental losses.
Natural conditions exacerbate the picture, as precipitation in the state is minimal. With only 2 winter months, California can get pretty dry and hot. Southern California is especially hard hit (as the history of California droughts shows) and is constantly prone to wildfires.
In a time of global warming, each dry season promises to be very devastating for the state. The drought can have long-term effects and make the land uninhabitable. Let’s figure out why are there droughts in California?
Droughts In California Fact – Uneven Water Distribution System
What does it mean? All of California’s water supply depends on a system of pumps that transfer water from the north to the south of the state. Because of insufficient pumping capacity, some water is lost in the Pacific Ocean and does not reach the customers.
There are two explanations for this situation. The first is that winter storms interfere with and complicate the pumping of water. The second is state environmental regulations that prohibit pumping during those months when fish migrate from one body of water to another.
For example, in 2013, the state lost nearly 10 million acre-feet that flowed out through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Droughts In California Historical Cause: Outdated Infrastructure
Even though the population of the state of California grows year after year, the government allocates very little money for the renewal of the old water infrastructure and construction of the new one. For example, the last major water supply project in the region was as far back as 1979.
Climatic Condition Is Another Reason for the Past Droughts In California
The weather in California changes very frequently and is considered to be the most changeable of all the states in the United States. There are extremely dry periods, and then there are periods with heavy rain and storms. This variability does not allow for a balanced water supply. Just the North American droughts in California 2015 were caused by climatic conditions, namely the Arctic Oscillation.
Supply and Demand: California Droughts History Cause
Water is very expensive in the state because of supply problems. Because of the price, many settlements cannot afford to pay for it.
Another California Historical Droughts Reason: Climate Change
Drought, scientists say, is not part of a long-term change in annual precipitation. But rising average temperatures can be detrimental to the climate condition.
Excessive Water Use
Each year, approximately 5 million acre-feet are used by the agrarians to feed livestock. Also in daily use, people use a lot of water, which also contributes to drought conditions. California is also ahead of other states in the number of factories that consume immeasurable amounts of water. The droughts in California of 2016 were caused by this reason.
Droughts in California History: Long and Short-Term Effects
Short Term Effects
Scientists have already noticed a decrease in water supplies that are collected from rainfall-runoff. This water is used to support many aspects of California’s agriculture and infrastructure. On the other hand, the water table does not have such an effect and its decline is much slower. But if both water sources are reduced, water quality and availability will decrease. This, in turn, will lead to another rise in the cost of water. Such a situation threatens the state with the worst droughts in California in history.
Long Term Effects
Continuing to pump out water from groundwater will lead to complete depletion of the soil, which is fraught with the impossibility of using it in agriculture. Landslides and low ground levels in the state are also possible. There are already real examples of such consequences in California, which makes us think about our future.