Scientists and geologists alike have clearly stated that the constant drought faced by California will affect the world. While a large part of the U.S. is enduring extended periods of drought, California is in a state of emergency. The state’s reservoirs are only capable of servicing its population for one more year before the supply of water runs dry. In the mean time, counties near the Great Lakes continue to see their water levels reach the highest in nearly 15 years.
The snow and ice that covered the Northeast is generating a huge amount of freshwater as it melts while the West is approaching historically low snowpack, which is important in replenishing the water supply around the region. A controversial resolution to offset the record breaking cold along with high snow produced on the East Coast and exceeding heat along with dryness on the West Coast, may be the option to ship water from where it is plentiful to where it is destitute. Throughout the presidential primary in 2008, Bill Richardson, the incumbent Governor of New Mexico, pushed for an interstate water policy.
More than a decade ago the U.S. Congress blocked an attempt made many Asian countries to buy water generated in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes and its adjoining waterways contain the uttermost freshwater network on Earth, and are split between Canada, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. Presently, a concession with the Council of Great Lakes Governors prevents water divergence to any locality or state other than their own members. In the meantime, Alaska ships more than a billion gallons of freshwater overseas by tankers. At the moment, water policy continues to be highly complex and enforced on a municipal level.
New research shows that California and other areas of the West could encounter a thousand-year long mega-drought. This constant drought will affect everyone as California is an agricultural state and reputed as breadbasket to the whole world. The economy of the state of California itself is seventh largest in the world. It includes a large portion of agricultural output which is exported. As the agricultural industry needs reliable water supply from irrigation and rain, constant drought in the state is bound to affect the world.
California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, Thursday pledged a billion dollar plan to help the communities affected most by drought. The water board mentioned setting some restrictions on particular personal practices. Such restrictions would limit the amount of days that residents are allowed to water their own yards, washing cars only at home while using a hose with a shutoff valve, and restricting irrigation when it rains as well as two days thereafter. They are also stiffening hotel and restaurant ground rules which require hotels to offer guests the choice to forego daily laundry service along with permitting the option to decline new sheets and towels every day. The restaurant patrons would be urged to only ask for a glass of water when needed and for servers to offer glasses of water when the customer requests.
People say that even if the State of California ordered more provisional water constraints, at present there is no law enforcement or division of government mandated to implement the water rules and fine those who violate them. Some in the state believe the water regulation is a complete joke. Californians express the need for the system to be improved before the crisis becomes any worse. Many feel these new guidelines do not mean much because the restrictions have already been in effect for some time now. It will be an uphill task for the state authorities of California to resolve the issue of water scarcity as the constant drought situation in the state will hurt them as well as the world.
By Ankur Sinha