California is now in its third year of drought, yet recent estimates show that statewide, Californians use approximately 192 gallons of water per person per day. In comparison, after a seven-year drought brought reservoirs down to 15 percent capacity, water restrictions in Brisbane, Australia reduced individual use from 106 gallons per person a day, to 37 gallons per person a day. Following are the different levels of water restrictions that were enforced.
California is still in a serious drought.
On February 27, 2009, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state drought emergency and urged Californians to cut their water use by 20 percent. As of April 1, state reservoirs were still below average with Shasta Lake at 63 percent of capacity and Lake Oroville at 56 percent. (Average reservoir capacity for April 1 is 77 percent for Shasta and 72 percent for Oroville.)
Drought is defined in many ways, but in general, drought means there is insufficient water (from precipitation, storage and conveyance) to meet needs over an extended period of time, usually a season or more. Definitions vary depending on geographic location, management methods, and water demand. According to The National Drought Mitigation Center, there are four general ways to describe drought: meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socioeconomic.
Science News recently interviewed Kelly Redmond, Deputy Director and Regional Climatologist of the Western Regional Climate Center, Desert Research Institute in Reno, for his take on California’s current drought.
How much of the snow and rain that falls ends up running off into rivers and reservoirs?