Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Rats get fat with water; state completely in drought

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83208 full

Friday's news finds the whole state in the same boat together. Except there's no water. And we may or may not have a paddle. Don't jump overboard, but let's dive in: 

  • That last little corner of the state that was a holdout against drought has succumbed — so for the first time in 15 years, every last square mile of California is in drought. (L.A. Times)
  • Great graphics from the Economist show California's reservoir holdings against time and population growth. (The Economist)
  • Reuters points out that by the state's own count, there are about 3,000 water authorities in California, most regulated mostly locally, with less transparency than many would like. (Reuters)
  • The water picture improves for some California towns, thanks to measures taken since the California Department of Public Health created a list of vulnerable communities in February. Now that list includes just three towns: in Mendocino, Mariposa and Siskyou counties. (AP, CDPH)
  • Our own Jed Kim goes to Griffith Park to see what it's telling us about drought. Rains have awakened late-season plants, giving the park some green, but the park's plant inventory remains precarious. (KPCC)

And now, the critter report:

  • With fewer water sources available, rats are running around a public park in San Francisco where dogs... and their owners... and water bowls are common. (NBC BayArea)
  • Research on the Farallon Islands is at risk because the absence of collectable water makes it hard to sustain research for humans... and that's only half the story.
Situated 27 miles offshore, the research station has to be largely self-sufficient. More than 90 percent of the power comes from solar panels. And the scientists rely on rainwater for household use that is collected in a large cistern with a 100,000 gallon capacity. They use about 25,000 gallons a year, roughly one-quarter of the use of the average family home. Gray water is collected, filtered and used in toilets. (BayNature)

One of the keys for the scientists? "We only shower every four days."

Which reminds me. The Tweet o' the Week isn't about showering, for once, but is about good manners: 

Share your etiquette and conservation tips in the comments below - and have a great weekend. 

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