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California Drying – Drought a Reminder of Importance of Local Conservation

Press Democrat – Apr 3, 2007

Southern California meterologists are calling it the “perfect drought.”

The three sources of drinking water for Southern California – Sierra snowpack, the Colorado River basin and regional rainfall – were much lower than normal this year. Fortunately, last year’s high rainfall means there is still plenty of water in storage.

The question is, what will happen if this weather pattern continues next year? Or for a decade or more, as occurred in the period between 900 and 1300, when the world was warming in much the same way scientists predict global warming will affect the region?

Through conservation and by recycling wastewater, Los Angeles water demand has been relatively flat over the last two decades, despite the addition of a million new residents. Further reductions will be more difficult to achieve.

Sonoma County residents who wonder why this is relevant to their own lives should consider the following: A prolonged drought in the south will place more pressure on Northern California to share its water.

This is another of the many reasons that Sonoma County must aggressively pursue opportunities to reuse wastewater and to conserve fresh water. Some day the perfect drought will come to Northern California, too.