Water Problem in California

Water Problem in California

High temperatures and low precipitation


The state of California is currently experiencing severe water shortage. The water problem has persisted for the last four years. The state has historically had water problems since a large portion of it is arid. However, there are several causes for the current water problems in the state. In the first place, the state has experienced a long drought and this means that it has not been able to replenish its water sources. California has received little rainfall in the last four years and 2013 was the driest year in recorded history. The groundwater is low and so are the snow pack levels. This has reduced the amount of water in reservoirs. Some human practices have contributed to the problem as well. California is one of the major agricultural states in the country. Farmers depend on surface and ground water to grow their crops. About three quarters of the water in the state goes towards supporting agriculture (Shelton and McKenzie). The farmers pump water from the ground when the amount of surface water is insufficient to water the crops. Wells have begun to run dry in some areas. Population growth has been another major reason for the drought in California. The state has experienced unprecedented growth over the last few years. This means that there is more demand for water, yet no additional sources are being provided.

The way water was managed in the state is a reason for the current water shortage. The people paid little for water; hence, they failed to recognize its value. This led to wastage and over consumption of water. Some people use a lot of water for unnecessary activities, such as watering their lawns daily. Most of them do not know how they can conserve the water they have. This has caused a major problem since it has led to depletion of the water reservoirs.

Poor management of water and policies are a major reason for the current situation. The state has an elaborate and complex water system. It is dry but it receives sufficient rainfall and other forms of precipitation. However, action from the environmentalists has hindered the storage of water, as they have objected to, and prevented the construction of more conveyance systems and reservoirs. Instead, they have advocated for the release of rainwater into the ocean. This means that the state has insufficient water to depend on during the drier period. Some of the water that could be used by the human population is released into the bay. Environmentalists have restricted water pumping to the reservoirs in the south as a way to preserve an endangered species of fish. This means that farmers had no water to irrigate their crops and less water was available for domestic use.

It is possible to curb water shortage in future and to ensure that residents and farmers do not suffer because of the current water shortage. Increasing the price of water and raising awareness concerning the importance of water conservation will save water. High water bills will discourage people from misusing and wasting water. Farmers need to find ways of using water effectively in their farms. This can be achieved by planting crops that do not require a lot of water for growth and using irrigation systems that use water more effectively. Management of water and formulation of water policies should be aligned to people’s needs. Any proposed policies should put human needs first. There should be creation of more storage facilities as this will ensure that the rainwater and the meting snow are stored as water for future use.

Work Cited

Shelton, Kathryn and Richard, McKenzie B. “The California Water Crisis: Policing vs. Pricing?” Library Economics and Liberty. 1 Sep. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015

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