In The Midst Of The Polar Vortex, A Drought In California

Monday, January 27, 2014

Now in its third straight year of drought conditions, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. Now in its third straight year of drought conditions, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. (Getty Images)

In light of California Governor Jerry Brown's declaration of a drought emergency, Lauren Sommers, science and environmental reporter at KQED, discusses the political and environmental effects of the drought. 


Lauren Sommer
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Comments [9]

John from NJ

I'm glad you used the word Insanity Brian. there is another insanity regarding water. We use it once, and throw it away. By throw it away I mean dump it into the ocean. But first we spend massive amount of tax money making that water relatively clean in Sewage Treatment Plants. A little more cleaning and treatment of this water would make it useable / potable. The insanity is explained in the short animated film here.

Jan. 27 2014 11:35 AM

@Sally -- here in NYC area we get many of our tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce (that's what comes to mind) from Canadian greenhouses, for some reason.

Not mentioned in this show is that Much of the Pacific NW is suffering the same drought. Apples, pears, cherries, potatoes, and much of the Arab World's pita fodder, hard wheat.

Jan. 27 2014 11:34 AM
Bob from Westchester, NY

Brian: a little historical perspective -- the "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown flush it down" mantra was used in the NYC drought of the early 1980s, most famously by Mayor Koch at various school appearances.

Also to the caller worried about Jon Stewart's take on climate change: watch the segment again; he was clearly being ironic.

Jan. 27 2014 11:34 AM
MCameron from Brooklyn, NY

A must-read on this subject is William deBuys, "A Great Aridness." An amazing book, beautifully written, superb science, and explains/predicts it all for California and the Southwest. Strongly suggest B. Lehrer get him on your show sometime.

Jan. 27 2014 11:31 AM
Tony from Mountain View, CA

What about Southern California? Are they really wasting water while Northern California is undergoing restrictions?

Jan. 27 2014 11:30 AM

Albuquerue & Santa Fe are two cities that are ridiculously dry and they manage to survive. But there is a threshold for your water bill, if you go over that you pay through the nose.

Are there punitive water bills in Cali as well?

Jan. 27 2014 11:27 AM
Sally Morrow

Not just the food supply for the U.S. We don't grow anything at this season in Canada - fruits and vegetables come from places like California....Meanwhile our tar sands development is using vast quantities of water to produce "bitumin". Big picture - what's wrong! We live on the same continent.

Jan. 27 2014 11:26 AM

The Little Ice Age ended roughly around 1850, which is about the time that extensive settlement of California by American settlers with their agricultural systems started. They showed up right about the time that California would be experiencing wetter conditions.

Jan. 27 2014 11:24 AM

A drought ? In a desert?
Who know ??
Guess it doesn't make sense to grow your vegetables in a desert.

Jan. 27 2014 11:22 AM

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