California Experiences a Dilemma


California is no stranger to severe conditions such as earthquakes, wildfires and storms. However as of recent, the state is enduring a drought that could compromise their water reserves and be disastrous to the country’s top agricultural state. The California wet season approximately runs from November to April but this season has had a record-breaking drought that is placing some parts of the state in need of a foot of rain to mitigate the dry and parched predicament. California is experiencing a dilemma that could surrender it into catastrophic capacity that would affect the rest of the country. The storm that hit the state Thursday barely lessened the drought and does not compensate for the precipitation insufficiency it is currently undergoing. Four or five more heavy rainstorms are vital for California to escape the drought before the dry season approaches. Californians need to implement water conservation practices in order for the entire state to survive the drought.

California grows about 50 percent of the country’s fruit and vegetables and a massive loss of crops would mean increased prices for consumers. On Saturday, California governor Jerry Brown signed an $687 million emergency drought relief package into law to offset the damage the drought is afflicting across the state. The legislation will put money in storm water recapturing, broader use of recycled water, efficient administration of groundwater storage and optimal water allotment. Furthermore, funds from the legislation will assist displaced workers who are employed in the state’s agricultural sector with food and housing.  The state of California is ill-prepared for a water shortage crisis and government funding is a temporary solution to an extensive problem. California is experiencing their worst dilemma in the worst economic climate since the Great depression.

Another catastrophe the drought can bring besides higher produce prices is California becomes more susceptible to wildfires. During this wet season, over 500 fires have destroyed over 1,100 acres. This year has seen a 330 percent rise in fires and 150 percent climb of burned acreage from a year ago. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is expecting the worst and has hired an additional 125 firefighters, who are usually hired on in May during the dry season. All across the state from north to south, firefighting aircraft facilities are currently open ready for deployment; usually the facilities are closed in the winter. Firefighting expends water the state cannot afford to waste, so Californians not only have to practice water conservation for the environment and human consumption, but water has to be rationed for dousing fires.

This past weekend the rainstorm brought minor relief to California, but it also yielded destructive mudslides in some communities that are nestled in hills that become unstable due to the wildfires. In the suburban foothills of Azusa, one homeowner said a mass bulk of mud descended from the mountain and covered his entire backyard. In the city of Los Angeles, the rainstorm has caused over 3,000 residents to be without electricity due to debris hitting the power lines. In Riverside, 21,000 residents had their power shut down by lightning. California is known to bounce back after experiencing calamitous dilemmas that brings the state down to its knees. During these last few weeks of wet season, Californians are on alert to see if Mother Nature will have mercy on their state and bring rainstorms that will alleviate the pending cataclysm that could become irreparable.

By Isriya Kendrick

SF Gate
Aljazeera America

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