Update LA: California Faces Crippling Draught

While those in the South are recovering from crippling rainfall as a result of Hurricane Matthew, those in California are facing the worst drought on record.

While water levels are nearing all time lows on the West Coast – water conservation efforts are hitting new highs, but saving water in the largest desert city in the country isn’t easy.

It’s become a real challenge in supporting this many people in this very dense metropolitan area with limited water, said Karla Heidelberg, PhD, Director of USC Environmental Studies Department.

After another dry year, the Los Angeles river water levels are at a near record low. Scientists agree that the end of the drought is no where near in sight so the burden falls on residents and government officials to save the regions’ water.

“Our needs in the LA region are to provide a package of conservation minded approaches, especially when we’re dealing with such a large urban area,” said Heidelberg.

The market is starting to catch up to that idea. New rain barrels can reclaim more than 600 gallons of stormwater a year. Businesses and Californians can save thousands of gallons yearly by replacing old sprinklers with new efficient models.

With temperatures now on the rise every year, officials are cautiously approaching their plan of action.

Mark Cowin, Director of the Department of Water explains that there is great uncertainty as to what will happen with climate change in the future so again we need to be conservative about how we expect those types of changes to take place.

For the first time in this historic 5 year-long drought, city water reserves actually saw increases in 2016. So for now, officials say conservation efforts are paying off.

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