Wednesday, October 1, 2008

'Most significant water crisis in California history'

Mt. Shasta News (California): A drive along the I-5 corridor between Mount Shasta and Redding will quickly let even the casual observer know that California is experiencing a severe drought. The sight of a bare Mount Shasta and the exposed banks of Shasta Lake serve as stark and constant reminders of the situation unfolding throughout the North State. In a statement on its website, the Department of Water Resources calls the drought of the past two years, “the most significant water crisis in California history.” The drought is also arguably the biggest factor in the wildfires that made this year’s “the worst fire season in California history,” according to Governor Schwarzenegger and CalFire.

Intensifying disputes over bottling plants and dam removal in our area are symptoms of water, climate change, and drought, local environmentalists say; these issues will become increasingly important to planning decisions in Siskiyou County. The severity of the current water crisis was first outlined by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 5, when he declared the drought official, and underscored in early September when state officials unveiled a “drought water bank” to prepare for the possibility of a third dry year in a row.

In declaring the drought, Gov. Schwarzenegger said, “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... Water is like our gold, and we have to treat it like that.”

…In releasing the survey results back in early May, DWR director Lester Snow said, “Today’s conditions further underscore the need for immediate action to solve California’s water supply and delivery problems. We must take immediate steps to protect the Delta ecosystem, conserve more water and develop additional groundwater and surface storage facilities to meet our future needs.” The summer only saw a continued lack of precipitation, and the eventual rationing of water by some downstream and southern California communities and utilities, most notably the East Bay Utility District and the Long Beach Water Department.

Mount Shasta in 2005, photo by Poppy, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

No comments: