THE BLOG

Run-Away Rain: No Rescue for California's Crippling Drought

03/11/2014 09:31 pm 21:31:35 | Updated May 11, 2014

The storms of showers which soaked many parts of California over the final days of February and early March were the most generous drops from Mother Nature's pitcher of water to grace the state since 2010. Sadly, the saturation is not enough to quench the thirst of our crops and orchards of vegetables and fruits -- nor is it more than a splatter in the troughs of our dairy animals -- who are suffering from the most crippling water crisis in California history.

It would take a solid two months of rain to end the drought. Even so, severe saturation is not the ultimate solution for the reversal and future prevention of the colossal casualties and collateral damage our farming industry and other agricultural resources have incurred from the withering water supply.

Governor Jerry Brown's signature on the 687 million-dollar drought relief package will provide desperately needed food, housing and other assistance to farm workers who have lost employment. This legislation is sorely needed and a sprinkling of hope, but we need to do more than dampen our consciousness, in order to counter the grim speculation that California's drought could go on for several more years -- and even become "the new normal."

As conservationists and consumers, it is vitally important that we explore and adapt technologies that might help us conserve water, including old-fashioned ones like rainwater collection by individuals, and new ones like Moshe Alamaro's plan for anti-evaporation monolayers on reservoirs. This is certainly no time to suggest cutting NASA's budget.

Since most of the rain run-off ended up in the Pacific Ocean, there's little left to quench the thirsty empty reservoirs and therefore, unusable. We would be wise to adapt sustainable solutions such as building fresh water capture and hold facilities, expanded use of recyclable water and step up actions to prevent contamination of our oceans' vulnerable wildlife.

We might do well to cultivate resourceful and ingenious practices achieved by our global neighbors as close in proximity as France and as far away as Cambodia.

The French invention of wind turbines which simultaneously averts dew and produces electricity is ideal for coastal regions like ours. Similar sustainable solutions such as Cambodians solar water management techniques which push water into storage tanks and allows for gravity to take over to distribute the water to households could be of enormous benefits to Californians.

Since our record keeping on rainfall and droughts is only a mere 100 years old it's difficult to assess whether this is the result of global warming or not and as such, a difficult thing to prove, but an easy thing for interested parties to muddy.

This will probably be the case any time some new weather-related headline appears, with republicans pushing us as far into catastrophe as they possibly can, feigning a puzzlingly uncharacteristic concern for empirical certainty.

Whether you veer from the left or the right -- it's reasonable to conclude that it is beyond party politics to agree -- that we must promote climate resilient water management and agricultural practices for long-term relief for a long-running drought.