originally posted on TPOmag.com
By Sharon Verbeten
As California enters its fourth year of severe drought, Gov. Jerry Brown declares emergency and issues new regulations. But will it be enough?
Droughts and dry spells are not a rare occurrence in California. But according to a recent study, the drought that has plagued the state for the past few years is the worst to parch the central and southern parts of the state in the past 1,200 years.
Record-high temperatures have exacerbated the drought, creating the driest soil conditions since the 9th century, according to a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The research noted the lack of rain during 2012 to 2014 isn’t remarkable on its own; there have been three-year periods when less rain and snow fell. But the current drought also comes at a time of extreme heat.
According to the National Weather Service, California’s heat waves will make 2014 the warmest year in historical record. More heat means air evaporates more moisture from plants and the soil. Heat waves also cause more evaporation from streams, rivers and the mountain snowpack.
Regulations take hold
As early as January 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency. And in March 2015, he announced a $1 billion emergency legislative package to deal with the drought. That money would help speed up water projects and programs and provide aid to struggling California cities and communities.
Brown was quoted in a Reuters report saying, “As the drought continues, there will be a heightened sense of urgency, and we’ll act in extraordinary ways.”