California Drought

At the end of the 2014-2015 rain year (1 October to 30 September), 12 major California reservoirs held a collective content of 25% of capacity. Despite some rain in September, the reservoirs now only contain 44% of the historical average amount of water for 30 September.
Nevertheless, there are some residential properties constantly using over 1,000 gallons of water PER HOUR. In northern California, these water hogs are named. In Los Angeles, however, the Department of Water and Power (LADWP) refuses to disclose the identities of water wasters. The LADWP proposes to raise its water rates to recover revenues lost because most customers are conserving water. Instead, the LADWP should raise its rates only for those who use the most water.
I was digging in my garden yesterday to plant some perennials. Although I have cut back on irrigation per a mandate from my water service, I noted that the soil was still moist. No, it was not wet; but it was moist enough to sustain my garden.
El Niño is expected to drop record-breaking rain on California this winter. I have several concerns about this prediction:
* During past El Niño events, expected rainfall did not always occur.
* In other El Niño events, southern California received a disastrous soaking (people died) while northern California -- where the main reservoirs are located -- received only minimal rain.
* And finally, El Niño results from very warm temperatures in the Pacific. Instead of snow in the mountains, northern California might get only rain. The reservoirs cannot hold enough water to meet our needs. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is actually our main reservoir, often holding an order of magnitude more water than all the man-made reservoirs combined. The snow melts slowly, tricking into the man-made reservoirs as water already there is consumed. With rain instead of snow, our drought cannot end.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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On 10/22/2015 2:32 PM, David E. Ross wrote:

snip...
I left California right before the mid-1970s drought got really bad and it didn't affect me too terribly much because I was living in a tiny apartment in Silicon Valley at the time. As much as I liked living and traveling in the state it seemed that there was always something going on: drought gives way to fire gives way to landslides gives way to earthquake, gives way to wacko attacks - lather, rinse, repeat. Even with all that I deeply regret not trying to buy an empty property in La Honda when I could have (with great financial stress, of course). If nothing else, it could have made me a ton of money in the long run -- even horrible little houses in Sunnyvale and Mountain View are now million-dollar properties so there is no telling what 3/4A of property with a view within an easy commute of SV might be worth.
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David E. Ross wrote:

the fixed costs of delivering the water should be spread out to all customers, as for what to do about volume it does make sense to charge more for the higher volume users, but does that mean they are wasting water? maybe not. in some cases anything that plants are not using will go into recharging the groundwater so that's not a horrible outcome. and of course the losses due to evaporation.

there's been a few nice rains in areas recently, so that does help folks out a lot. even if it doesn't soak through at least it does moderate soil temperatures and give the trees a bit of moisture to tide them over until the next bout happens to come along.

the forecast has been updated recently to increase the odds that the norhtern part of the state will have a better chance of getting some of the rains.
right now the hurricane that is heading into Mexico on the Pacific side may be some interesting weather.

it will take a very wet year to refill all the reservoirs that are low.
whatever rains you guys get will help, but the flip side of El Nino is sometimes followed by more drought of a La Nina...
interesting to see that New Mexico is now drought free for the first time in many years. watching the radar last night and yesterday i saw they picked up yet another storm and Lake Powell is getting some recharge already. hopefully for CA, AZ and NV the trend will continue and they'll get some more good rains to give the ground- water a chance to recharge.
in Albuquerque they are starting to pump groundwater they've been storing for the first time since they started the recharg program (leaving more water in the river and giving fish and other wildlife a break during a period of low flow). hopefully in 30-50 years there will be spots in CA where they can do similar.
songbird
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