Friday, July 18, 2014

California - Drought or the New Normal?

California. Lush, beautiful, a land of orchards and fields. Is that all just history? Is California now just a big desert?
Folsom Lake was built a half century ago to hold a million acre-feet of water (One acre-foot is enough water for a family of four for an entire year). The levels are higher now than this photo, when the reservoir was at 17% of capacity, but still low.
Ironically, this sign at Folsom Lake was not intended to be low comedy.

Oroville Lake is the keystone of the California Water Project that ships water to agriculture, industrial, and residential users throughout the state. At 3.5 million acre-feet maximum capacity, it is the largest reservoir in the state. It currently sits at just a third of that capacity.

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, is at its lowest level since the reservoir was first filled during the Great Depression. The water level is 100 feet below its average and just 75 feet above the lowest limit where water can be pumped out of that ever shrinking mud hole.

Speaking of the Colorado River, by the time it crosses the border between the United States and Mexico, that once mighty river has ceased to exist. That broad expanse of desert pictured above is all that is left of the Colorado River delta.

But all is not lost. If you are a millionaire you can find all the fresh water you could ever want extravagantly wasted on the high-end golf courses of Palm Springs. Pictured is the TPC at La Quinta.

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