California Proclaims Drought – Governator demands action

Added humor above – click for original image

Governor Schwarzenegger Proclaims Drought and Orders Immediate Action to Address Situation

San Francisco’s Spring, driest on record:

The rainfall for the months of March, April and May in San Francisco were the driest in the City’s 159 seasons of record. The total this spring is just 0.47”, bringing the 2007-2008 season to 17.44”. Below are the Top 10 Driest SF Springs and the total for that respective season. Credit: Jan Null, GGWeather

Rank

Year

Spring

Season

1

2008

0.47

17.44

2

1959

0.68

10.46

3

1934

0.70

12.91

4

1997

1.03

22.63

5

1873

1.22

15.66

6

1972

1.30

11.06

7

1966

1.35

16.33

8

1916

1.40

27.12

9

2004

1.46

20.54

10

1877

1.52

11.04

From the press release issued June 4th, 2008:

Following two straight years of below-average rainfall, very low snowmelt runoff and the largest court-ordered water transfer restrictions in state history, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today proclaimed a statewide drought and issued an Executive Order, which takes immediate action to address a dire situation where numerous California communities are being forced to mandate water conservation or rationing. The lack of water has created other problems, such as extreme fire danger due to dry conditions, economic harm to urban and rural communities, loss of crops and the potential to degrade water quality in some regions.

“For the areas in Northern California that supply most of our water, this March, April and May have been the driest ever in our recorded history,” Governor Schwarzenegger said. “As a result, some local governments are rationing water, developments can’t proceed and agricultural fields are sitting idle. We must recognize the severity of the crisis we face, so I am signing an Executive Order proclaiming a statewide drought and directing my Department of Water Resources and other entities to take immediate action to address the situation.”

Today’s Executive Order directs the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to:

  • Facilitate water transfers to respond to emergency shortages across the state.
  • Work with local water districts and agencies to improve local coordination.
  • Help local water districts and agencies improve water efficiency and conservation.
  • Coordinate with other state and federal agencies and departments to assist water suppliers, identify risks to water supply and help farmers suffering losses.
  • Expedite existing grant programs to help local water districts and agencies conserve.

This Executive Order also encourages local water districts and agencies to promote water conservation. They are encouraged to work cooperatively on the regional and state level to take aggressive, immediate action to reduce water consumption locally and regionally for the remainder of 2008 and prepare for potential worsening water conditions in 2009. As part of the Executive Order, DWR will work with locals to conduct an aggressive water conservation and outreach campaign.

Last month, DWR’s final snow survey of 2008 showed snowpack water content at only 67 percent of normal and the runoff forecast at only 55 percent of normal. As conditions continue to worsen across California, it underscores the state’s need for infrastructure improvements to capture excess water in wet years to use in dry years like this one.

“This drought is an urgent reminder of the immediate need to upgrade California’s water infrastructure. There is no more time to waste because nothing is more vital to protect our economy, our environment and our quality-of-life. We must work together to ensure that California will have safe, reliable and clean water not only today but 20, 30 and 40 years from now.

Read more from the press release and watch the video

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June 4, 2008 2:02 pm

Yah riiiight. A 17 inch season and monster snowpack in parts of the Sierras. The Water Resources Department said the state’s snowpack water content in 2008 was only 67 percent of normal. This is the same WRD that in February said the Sierra snowpack was already 111% of normal. The politics of water are the new social engineering lever now that AGW is discredited.

Jeff Alberts
June 4, 2008 2:07 pm

Surprised he didn’t say anything about AGW.
Right now in South Everett (just north of Seattle) it’s been raining all morning and cold (2pm and 60 degrees). Normally people would be out enjoying the pool since Memorial day, but we’ve barely been above 60 since then.
I demand some Global Warming!

Russ R.
June 4, 2008 2:11 pm

“Cuz it never rains in Southern California”, I guess we can add Northern California to the list of places with infrequent rainfall. Most people that I know, that live in California, are proud of the fact that they have so many rain-free days there.
The agriculture industry uses a large portion of the fresh water that is available, and if they start getting restricted, it will put more pressure on food prices.

From the Tundra
June 4, 2008 2:13 pm

I do believe a negative PDO historically leads to drier conditions in the southwest (including California). Except now there are millions of more people living on land that has gone through wetter (better) years with the PDO in the warm phase.
Of course GW will be blamed, when all they have to do is look at their window at the real cause. Cool times tend to bring more pain than warm times and the negative PDO could bring years of lower than average rainfall.
Of all of Arnold faults, getting ahead of this is a good thing.

Tom in Florida
June 4, 2008 2:21 pm

Hey Ahnuld, one word: desalinate!
It just occured to me that if all coastal States use desalination to provide their water needs, we may be able to reduce the rise in sea levels due to global warming… I’m sorrry I mean climate change …. or is it now greener to say arctic ice melt? This is getting confusing.

Reid
June 4, 2008 2:58 pm

Robert Cote says “The politics of water are the new social engineering lever now that AGW is discredited.”
Building large scale water projects is good for society. CO2 restrictions are bad for society. Simple as that.
I’m all for government getting involved in huge water resource schemes especially if it replaces CO2 hysteria.
Here in upstate NY Aqueduct #3 of the NYC water system is being built. It is the largest construction project in the country. It was started in 1970 and will be completed in 2020.

Jeff Alberts
June 4, 2008 3:01 pm

In Seattle, average June monthly rainfall is 1.44 inches as measured at SeaTac
I found my math error from a cut & paste from a website which had the surface as 510 Mm-2. Off by 1000. That’d be 510M Km-2.
In Everett we’re already at 1.72 inches just in the last 72 hours. SeaTac is at 0.89. Looks like it’s gonna be a cold, wet summer.
http://landslides.usgs.gov/monitoring/seattle/rtd/rainfall.php

jeez
June 4, 2008 3:05 pm

The shortsightedness of government officials in charge of water resources for the last 50 years may be unprecedented in history, and not just in California.
70-90% of normal precipitation for a single season and we are in a drought? Are you kidding me? We have no infrastructure capable of supplying the needs of the state within normal weather variation.
We need 3 to 5 times the amount of reservoir capacity currently in place at a minimum, so yes this is not the current administration’s fault, but dozens of administrations.
We need to be able to deal with sustained droughts—the real thing, say 7 years or more of less than 50% of normal rainfall. It is ridiculous to live on a razor’s edge of need, praying for 100% of normal every single year and decrying disaster when that doesn’t happen.
Of course this does not mean that agricultural water subsidies don’t need a second look as well. I could never make sense of growing rice in the California desert.

Morgan
June 4, 2008 3:07 pm

So why does the US drought monitor show the San Francisco area only as “abnormally dry” – at the far end of the scale from Extreme or Exceptional drought? That’s the worst they’ve seen in 159 years? What blessed lives they lead in California.

Jon Jewett
June 4, 2008 3:42 pm

A POX on California.
Back when I was young and stupid (as opposed to old and foolish now) I lived in Northern California. I was a Merchant Seaman, so have a reason to remember this controversy.
Back in 2002, a fellow had the idea of buying surplus tankers and carrying fresh water from Northern California to Southern California. He was going to do it with his own money.
The plan was to anchor off of the Gualala River and pump fresh water from the mouth of the river just before it went into the Pacific.
There was lots of outrage over stealing their water.
Of course, after the water ran into the Pacific, it was useless.
Anyway, here is an opposition site:
http://www.gualalariver.org/export/fantasy.html
And here are some replies to the questions asked of the entrepreneur:
http://www.gualalariver.org/export/questions.html
The first question is really telling about the mind set of the opponents.
The target date for completion was 2004. It would have been in operation by now.
Maybe it was a pipe dream-they are a regular part of Northern California culture. But maybe he had a good idea. Whether or not it would work is irrelevant. It was immoral to make a profit out of what was otherwise wasted.
Regards,
Steamboat Jack

Vic Sage
June 4, 2008 3:47 pm

I demand some Global Warming!

Yeah, I live in the mid-Willamette Valley. I finally remembered to order some hops rhizomes before they sold out.
The darn things are rotting in the ground because of the cold wet weather.

Luke
June 4, 2008 3:56 pm

“Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting” – Mark Twain
Water has _always_ been a contentious issue in California and the rest of the Southwest. This is nothing new and I fail to see a link between Arnold’s declaration and the AGW crowd.

bill-tb
June 4, 2008 4:22 pm

Pay more taxes, government will pretend to control the weather. This is the pretend part.
I wonder how he is going to make all that Sierra snow go away?

crosspatch
June 4, 2008 4:38 pm

Desalinization ideas along the coast in Monterey and Santa Cruz county have been repeatedly shot down because they would “encourage growth”. In that region there is a range of coastal hills (the Santa Cruz mountains) that cause storms coming in from the Pacific to drop a lot of their moisture before heading inland. Nearly all of that water simply runs right back out to sea as there isn’t enough room to really build storage between the mountains and the ocean. So a lot of the winter rains drop and run right back out into the ocean.
One of my (many) harebrained ideas would be to build a tunnel (or series of tunnels) from the coast to the Santa Clara valley and allow a lot of that wet air to have a path inland. That would transport a lot more water inland and should result in greater Sierra snowpack. The tunnels could double as power stations with a turbine that works in either direction placed in them. When the winds howl out toward the ocean in the fall or in off the ocean in the winter, the stations would be generating power that is placed into the grid. other infrastructure such as gas pipelines, power and communications cables could use them too.

callonjim
June 4, 2008 4:41 pm

Just on a positive note. I too have noticed a shift in terminology in the AGW battle implying that even the left most media is starting to change their minds. Just today the CBC (Canada’s answer to “Pravda”, but Pravda was not quite biased enough,) on some news casts talking about AGW, it has gone from a “consensus of 2500 IPCC scientists” to (and I kid you not) “some people say CO2 contributes to Global Warming”. I almost crashed my car!
The “2500 IPCC scientists” changed to “some people say” on the CBC! Wow!
REPLY: We are winnng this battle, slowly but surely.

Robert Ray
June 4, 2008 4:56 pm

If nothing else, Arnold is media savvy. The picture in the background is great window-dressing. The only thing missing are the circling vultures.
REPLY: I wondered when somebody would notice. I added that, for some humor. Here is the original:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/governator_drought.jpg

Richard deSousa
June 4, 2008 4:59 pm

Historically, California is a semi arid state. Droughts, in the past, have lasted as long as several centuries, but the population of California has grown beyond it’s capacity to sustain such a large population. The logical solution is to build more dams but the environmentalists want to tear down the existing dams… go figure.

SteveSadlov
June 4, 2008 5:22 pm

Perhaps the driest spring, but that’s not what matters.
How do the two rainfall seasons of 2006 – 2007 and 2007 – 2008 compare to those of 1975 – 1976 and 1976 – 1977?

Philip_B
June 4, 2008 5:31 pm

Mature trees now deep underwater tell us that the Sierras were much drier for long periods (perhaps a hundred or more years in the Medieval Warm Period) than recent times.
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=956
BTW, in order for these lakes to dry up, precipitation has to decrease by a large amount, in excess of 50%.

Robert Ray
June 4, 2008 5:36 pm

Anthony, you sly devil. I underestimated your irreverent humor. I’ll have to stay on my toes in the future. Keep up the good work

June 4, 2008 5:38 pm

These are some interesting stats for San Francisco, but the courts are restricting the Sacramento River flow south and I do not thing that SFO drought figures represent California droughts. D.M. Meko, did a reconstruction of Sacramento River System Runoff From Tree Rings from 901 to 1977 for the California Department of Water Resources, published in July 2001.
I have added the river flow to the supposed drought years. Note from 1777 to 1977 the average flow in Acre Feet as 18.02, the Max 37.3, the Min 5.56. In several of the supposed drought years the Sacramento River exceed the average flow.
Rank Year Season Sac Rv Flow (Million Acre/Ft)
1 2008 17.44 N/A
2 1959 10.46 8.72
3 1934 12.91 7.36
4 1997 22.63 N/A
5 1873 15.66 18.34
6 1972 11.06 13.43
7 1966 16.33 12.95
8 1916 27.12 24.14
9 2004 20.54 N/A
10 1877 11.04 10.12
I will dig up some plots I did for a TV show on the Sac River Flow, which I think will be better indicators of California drought.

bazthebarrel
June 4, 2008 5:56 pm

I tend to agree with you richard,this is just the beginning…

crosspatch
June 4, 2008 5:58 pm

I remember seeing on the Climate Audit site a rather long time ago a reference to a paper that used carbon dating of now-swamped tree stumps in Lake Tahoe and possibly other Sierra lakes to document extremely long periods of drought in California in the past that have dropped the lake levels considerably and by considerably, I mean by tens of feet. If you have ever seen Lake Tahoe, that represents a huge amount of water.

SwampWoman
June 4, 2008 6:15 pm

Glad you brought that up, Richard. California cannot sustain its population when a real drought comes along. So, are the “environmentalists” going to suffer the huge economic damage when the infrastructure is no longer capable of sustaining life along with the rest of the inhabitants?

MattN
June 4, 2008 6:30 pm

Anthony, I recommend you leave CA. I spent 4 months out there last year. That place is nucking futs….

Frank Ravizza
June 4, 2008 6:30 pm

I know what we should do. Dam the Merced River and fill Yosemite Valley with water. I’m kidding of course. I was there this weekend where I hiked to the top of El Capitan. I would really like to see the state reclaim Hetch Hetchy Valley. Put a reservoir somewhere else. What a waste!
What’s frustrating is Northern California has plenty of water, its SoCal that is so thirsty and lacks the resources. What I see coming from this is a few new reservoirs or expansion of existing reservoirs and maybe another aqueduct. The problems we’re having with the San Joaquin / Sacramento delta doesn’t help this situation.

Pamela Gray
June 4, 2008 6:46 pm

Development along the Rio Grand in El Paso dried up the Rio Grand to a trickle. What is that saying? “Build your house on sand and …….”
There is no drought in California. There is not enough water for the people who live there. Two different things.

old construction worker
June 4, 2008 6:51 pm

“The logical solution is to build more dams but the environmentalists want to tear down the existing dams… go figure.”
Arnold will want Utah and Colorado to build the dams and sell the water rights to California.

June 4, 2008 7:05 pm

It’s a shame that Californians actually got the government they voted for, but that’s life.
California imports foreign cars, electricity from other states, and illegals from Mexico… so why not more water? Requisition a few trillion gallons from British Columbia. Barter some wine and lettuce… throw in some pistachios.
Barbara Boxer will, no doubt, come up with something brilliant to bring needed moisture to the state as long as it doesn’t include building anything related to supplying it.
How about an old boy scout trick: some clear plastic stretched out just above the ground, a string with a rock to pull down the center of the plastic and a bucket to catch the condensation. Several thousand around each house and everyone has homegrown water.

jeez
June 4, 2008 7:16 pm

My brother came up with a simple inexpensive plan years ago that would take care of this quickly.
Give every Californian who wishes to relocate to Oregon 10,000 dollars to do so until Oregon diverts enough water to California to make us happy.

swampie
June 4, 2008 7:21 pm

And if that plastic film is actually thin film solar cells, hey, generating electricity AND water.
Seriously, California is not the only place with a huge water deficit. Look at Las Vegas and Phoenix, for example.

jeez
June 4, 2008 7:33 pm

Lester Snow Director of the Department of Water Resources?
and no one mentions it?

jeez
June 4, 2008 7:34 pm

I mean really…
LES SNOW??????????

MJ Penny
June 4, 2008 7:55 pm

As a wastewater engineer I noticed that all of you have missed one of the most reliable water resources we have, reclaimed water. The quality of wastewater that our local wastewater treatment plant is required to produce before discharging into the SF Bay is better than many of the water sources for drinking water treatment plants. Our local treatment plant reclaims only 2% of the treated wastewater to be used for irrigating golf courses, parks, and school fields. This reclaimed water could be returned to the raw water side of the local drinking water treatment plant as a great hedge against drought. Unfortunately the local politicians and the general managers of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants are against it. It is too big a political hot potato.
Along with more dams we need to start reclaiming the water we use and then clean up.

Gary
June 4, 2008 7:58 pm

Anthony, I too like the sly humor in your altered images, but you really should footnote or watermark that they’ve been modified. With all the web hits this site gets, somebody is bound to miss the joke, lift the image, and blame you for forgery or some such nonsense.
REPLY: Good idea, done.

June 4, 2008 8:24 pm

Those that conserve water will be rewarded greatly with higher water bills! For some reason it happens no matter where the shortages occur.

Bruce in Tulsa
June 4, 2008 8:27 pm

ever notice how, when you see movies in LA or San Diego Or up the coast; every other house has a huge swimming pool that is undrinkable because of all the chemicals in it? If water is so hard to come by why do they all have pools? Are they all just that dumb?

Bill P
June 4, 2008 9:22 pm

“The politics of water are the new social engineering lever now that AGW is discredited.”
“It’s Chinatown, Jake.” (1934 does appear as one of your top dry years.)
It’s worth watching the politicians’ claims, and maybe even reminding them about snowpack on both sides of the Rockies. Of Colorado’s eight drainages, all of them are above average. 115% according to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The Bureau of Rec puts the San Juan River Drainage at 140%, and the Colorado River Drainage, feeding Lake Powel, at 120%, enough to raise the lake 49 feet. That’s a lot of water.

Bill in Vigo
June 4, 2008 9:31 pm

I lived in Central Florida near Disney, For years before Disney there was plenty of water and then they put in flood control, straightened out and deepened the rivers and streams dug canals and drained lots of swamps. Then Disney and millions of people to Florida. Many of my family still live down there and there is always a water shortage. The east coast of Florida and the South west coast of the state are the worst for population density along with the mega tourist areas around Orlando. Now they are fighting over the water in NW Florida like it is theirs and they have to right to enforce water restrictions on the locals in NW Florida and pipe the water to the overpopulated areas. Truth be known they need tropical storms to keep enough water available to support all the pretty grass and swimming pools. I moved to NE Alabama and now the Atlanta metro area has become very overpopulated and the water wars have started here also. Many of the rivers flow from Georgia to Alabama and the Georgia folks want to dam the rivers and divert the flows to the Atlanta area. I don’t mean some of the water I mean most of the water leaving Alabama with out. It makes one wonder about all the state, city and county planning boards. It seems that they never take resources into account when planning growth just how much more tax income suburb and city will bring over agriculture properties. Yep it is all about money and power. Water will be the source of the power, taxes will be the source of the money.
Just my 2 cents
Bill Derryberry

Bill P
June 4, 2008 9:43 pm

Arizona New Mexico and California are guaranteed a goodly portion of this reserve of water each year, some 8.23 million acre feet. Probably more in a year like this.
Lake Powell from outer space:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Lake_powell_utah.jpg
Edward Abbey must be spinning in his grave.

Roger Carr
June 4, 2008 10:03 pm

After bustin’ through that rock I can understand why that longhorn died…

June 4, 2008 10:24 pm

Yep. Dry here in Fresno / Central Valley, CA. Normal rainfall for the year is about 14 inches. This year we had a really good Jan through Feb., then in March the climate change bastards shut off the spigot – we will finish the rain season with only 8 1/4 inches of the wet stuff.
PS, Much of Calif is considered a Mediterranean climate, were we have virtually no rain in the summer, and lots from Dec. through May.
Ever notice how, when you see movies in LA or San Diego Or up the coast; every other house has a huge swimming pool that is undrinkable because of all the chemicals in it? If water is so hard to come by why do they all have pools? Are they all just that dumb?
No, we’re that much better off than the rest of the world, one of the reasons why some hate and resent us so. We have it too good.

Drew Latta
June 4, 2008 11:49 pm

I would have to agree with the physical reality that “From the Tundra” points out. Colder Pacific waters would certainly point towards drier conditions in California due to the cold ocean currents off the coast of California in just the same way as the Atacama Desert in Chile is dry even thought it is on the coast – near shore cold water.
You really can’t blame people for wanting to live in a xeric climate regime. It was 65 degrees and 98% relative humidity this morning in Iowa when I walked to work. Its 73 degrees and 88% RH right now at 1:41 am on my horrendously placed (stuck to the side of a building) weather station here. Miserable, if you ask me. I’d take cool, dry desert mornings over this any day. We are headed towards a year to match records set in the disastrous flood year of 1993 if the rain and cool weather doesn’t let up. The local US Corps of Engineers are already issuing warnings that our flood control reservoirs are going to overflow before the end of June if we keep getting the same amount of precip we have been receiving. We probably haven’t gone a stretch of more than 4 days without rain since late March. Can anyone guess that this will cause greatly increased food commodity prices?

Denis Hopkins
June 5, 2008 2:18 am

Perhaps the Watercone (google it) should not just be used as something for less developed countries. Maybe the rich west should also use them, as well as water butts for places like England!

BobW in NC
June 5, 2008 6:53 am

Anthony re: wattsupwiththat (15:19:17) :
Noted your closing comment, “…they apparently care more about the welfare of a weed than a little boy who died….”
Thought you might be interested in this comment by Ralph Peters in a column in the New York Post [9/21/05] which struck me as the truth the moment I saw it – as did yours: “Leftists care nothing for real human beings. They only care about causes in the abstract—and who does a thing is far more important than what actually gets done.”

DAV
June 5, 2008 7:42 am

Well, it’s long been a theory that rainfall is the result of dancing. There is much proof to support this theory. Rainfall increases with increased dancing. It started with the dance craze in the “Roaring Twenties” then increased with the increase in Lindy Hop dancing during the 30’s and 40’s continuing with disco dancing in the 70’s followed more recently by all-night rave parties and hip-hop dance clubs.
Drought is just AGR (anthropogenic rainfall) masked by natural forces and it will return with a vengeance. We must remember that AGR causes extremes in rainfall, yes, even drought.
We must not allow denier politics to overcome needed legislation that would curb out impact on AGR. We must act before it is too late! Protect our Planet!

DAV
June 5, 2008 7:48 am

The second link in my last post “Dancing Ban” is “http://reason.tv/video/show/59.html”. It worked on the test bed I used but not in the “awaiting moderation” display.

superDBA
June 5, 2008 8:05 am

“Arnold will want Utah and Colorado to build the dams and sell the water rights to California.”
Here in Colorado, they brow beat us about low flow shower heads, and high efficiency toilets. Then we can ship the water downstream to Las Vegas so they can build golf courses in the desert and spray water in the air so the tourons (tourist morons) will go ooh-ahh.

June 5, 2008 8:11 am

I hope that CA has already reassessed the portion of its hydroelectric power supply which is “reliable” as opposed to “source of opportunity” power. They’ve had 8 years since they got the wakeup call.

Jeff Alberts
June 5, 2008 8:23 am

Water has _always_ been a contentious issue in California and the rest of the Southwest. This is nothing new and I fail to see a link between Arnold’s declaration and the AGW crowd.

Yeah, that happens in deserts.

Scott Walker
June 5, 2008 9:02 am

Long time lurker; first time poster. Great blog! To the fellow upthread suggesting flooding Oregon with Californians: too late. They’re already here. Anybody thinking to grab water from Oregon had best establish air superiority first…although this year we’ll have plenty. Coldest spring I can recall, and snow forecast in the Cascades down to 4000 feet. From where I live, on a rare clear day, I can see snow on mountains where people should have been pitching tents or hiking a month ago. My tomato plants would appreciate some global warming.

June 5, 2008 10:07 am

In Mister Schwarzenegger’s homeland Austria this last winter was a special one; snowing and lower than normal temperatures started approx. half November (this is about 5 weeks earlier than normal). During the winter there was little snowfall and above normal temperatures. End of the winter strong snowing till the 10th of May (skiing possible).

Michael Ronayne
June 5, 2008 10:49 am

Confused In New Jersey???
I though the west cost had record snow falls this past winter? The ski resorts couldn’t count the money fast enough. Here is the official NOAA report.
Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Winter 2007/2008
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2007/snow0708.html
Here is the graphic for just the west cost for March, April and May.
Mountain Snowpack on March 1, 2008
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2008/feb/MtnSnowpack_1Mar08.gif
Mountain Snowpack on April 1, 2008
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2008/mar/MtnSnowpack_1Apr08.gif
Mountain Snowpack on May 1, 2008
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2008/apr/MtnSnowpack_1May08.gif
California appears to have gone from above average snowpack in March to below average snowpack in May. I am confused by the statement “very low snowmelt runoff” which can mean two things.
1. There is not much snowpack to melt.
2. The snowpack is not melting.
What are the temperatures in the California Mountains?
Arizona appears to be in very serious difficulties. They may not want to share the Colorado River waters with Arnold this year.
Mike

MrSpindles
June 5, 2008 11:03 am

I know people may have moved on to more recent posts but required reading for anyone in the US southwest should be “Cadillac Desert” by Marc Reisner!!

Retired Engineer
June 5, 2008 11:10 am

SuperDBA: Spot on! We (CO) lived with low rainfall for several years, so we cut back on use. Had to tell the @#$% immigrants they couldn’t have Kentucky Blue grass lawns. Awwww. Then CA sues us to get more water from the Colorado. Right. Like we can control that.
Last time I was in southern CA, they still watered the medians of their freeways. Reality: CO is high plains desert. We live with it. The leftcoast should learn to do the same. (I recall a story about students at one of the major CA universities getting up in arms that the administration installed low-flow shower heads. DAISNAID)

JP
June 5, 2008 11:11 am

People on the West Coast should get use to this. A cold PDO will mean dry, dry and still more dry climate regimes. Places like Oregon and Washington will see more precip, but California -esp in the north- could see colder, snowier winters, but hot dry summers. This could play havoc on thier argiculture industry and will certainly raise the cost of living.
If the AMO remains in a positive mode while the PDO is cold, drought could also move into the eastern Rockies and Plain states. If the Rockies overtime see less winter snowfall, and the ethanol plants in the Plains continue to grow in number, there will be major problems with the drying of the Ogallala Aquifer. Ethanol production requires tons of water.

June 5, 2008 11:14 am

I am terrified by the idea of water restrictions I could be trying to control my
water usage but my mentally ill sister is not goin to listen to anyone–and take a long, long , long shower–twice a day! My family has had fights over even each other’s methods of trying to save water! What can I do?

Wondering Aloud
June 5, 2008 11:56 am

Housing prices are much more reasonable in Wisconsin or Michigan or South Dakota, If you don’t like blackouts and water shortages… or if you think it’s too hot where you are because of global warming… you may want to relocate.

austin
June 5, 2008 1:18 pm

The Farmers built and paid for that water infrastructure.
The cities should do the same for theirs.
Its BS that the former is being stolen by the latter.

pablo an ex pat
June 5, 2008 3:09 pm

I think that the State of California should open a bunch of corn ethanol plants and run them as state owned Co-op’s. Site one or two in San Francisco. They could use state money to subsidize the Ethanol and reduce the price of automobile fuel. All the time creating a greener planet and employing lots more people. It’s a win – win – win situation eh ?
Then a multitude of green ideas could fester in the same place. Just the processing part of Corn Ethanol uses 4 gallons of water for every gallon of Ethanol produced. This vandalism is already subsidized by $0.51/Gallon by the Federal Government.
What a pleasant prospect it is to be lead down the garden path by these people…. NOT.

Reid
June 5, 2008 3:30 pm

Speaking of farmers I predict that if a serious drought arises the farmers will be cutoff. It becomes a national security issue when populated areas don’t get water. Water and electric have to flow or there will be blood.

SteveSadlov
June 5, 2008 3:31 pm

17″ in SF for the 2007 – 2008 season to date … to put that in perspective, when I lived in SOMA, the normal rainfall was about 14.” Somewhere like Mt. Davidson it’s probably 25″. So, microclimate variation within the City alone is massive.
17″ at Dolores, while less than the “normal” 19 or 20″ or whatever it is (tangent for another day, the moves of the measurement location … just what is normal?), is respectable. Of course, the whole thing is bogus, since the important watersheds are miles away from SF.
From my perspective, we are in a light to moderate two year drought. For now. If it goes to the third year, then that’s a different discussion. We had a light 5 year drought in NoCal (7 year in SoCal) late 80s into the early 90s. That was actually pretty bad, we had rationing in a number of locales.

SteveSadlov
June 5, 2008 3:37 pm

RE: 14″ per year in SOMA (especially South Beach). A little known Bay Area microclimate fact … there is a “subsidence desert” over the Bay, which impinges on the western and southern shores. At Pier 1, it extends only a few hundred yards inland, in Santa Clara it extends 2 miles inland. Back before the South Bay was built out, it was fascinating to drive across the mouth of the Santa Clara Valley and note the massive changes in flora through the transect. In Mt. View, open forest / oak savanna was native, in northern Santa Clara / Alviso, short grass and desert scrub. That is a distance of 5 miles.

SteveSadlov
June 5, 2008 3:43 pm

Cadillac Desert (I own a copy) is a worst case combination of Gaia worship, doomer prognostication and general hatred of the LDS engineers who helped conquer the US West. Of course it makes some good points, but it’s very overblown. California is not Ancient Egypt.

MrSpindles
June 5, 2008 6:27 pm

In regards to “Cadillac Desert” after setting aside the writer’s personal view the book gives a good overall history of water politics in the US southwest.

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