Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Water meters for all? Plus, how climate change connects to drought

79842 full
79842 full

Monday's news engages your inner primate's sense of competition and asks: "Why isn't anyone keeping track of how much water my neighbors use?"

  • Paul Rogers reports over the weekend that there are several places in California where water use still isn't metered: Sacramento, Bakersfield, Modesto, Lodi, among others. (Mercury-News)

Is climate change causing the drought? That may be the wrong question. Against the backdrop of California's thirst, a debate continues, in part over the way we talk about science in mainstream media.

  • Research meteorologist Martin Hoerling writes an op-ed in The New York Times that expands on the comments he gave Andy Revkin last week. "At present, the scientific evidence does not support an argument that the drought there is appreciably linked to human-induced climate change." (NYT) He argues this week that the reason it matters is because diagnosis is key to prognosis:
[The true reason for the drought has] critical implications for how we assess risk and develop strategies to mitigate future problems and dangers. This is particularly true in the West, where we have built expensive and complex water resource systems to provide drinking water and support agriculture and industry. (NYT)
  • The Pacific Institute's Peter Gleick offers a nuanced rebuttal to Hoerling and translates the scientist when he points out that, "Just because the answer is not 'yes' does NOT mean the answer is 'no.'" Besides, he wants you to stop asking whether climate change caused the drought, anyway. (ScienceBlogs)
  • Joe Romm writes that "scientists a decade ago not only predicted the loss of Arctic ice would dry out California, they also precisely predicted the specific, unprecedented change in the jet stream that has in fact caused the unprecedented nature of the California drought." (Climate Progress)
  • California's drought-prone pattern is forcing farmers to adapt, writes Carolyn Lochhead. (SFGate)
  • Recent rain and snow too little, too late. (Accuweather)
  • And lastly, a personal favorite: "I tell ya, country clubs and cemeteries...the two prime wasters of [water]." Not so fast, Rodney Dangerfield. (SCPR)

If you see something, say something: tell us urban water users what it's like not to have meters in the comments below.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy reading Pacific Swell? You might like KPCC’s other blogs.

What's popular now on KPCC