Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Fewer fish, fewer jobs, more enforcement

83308 full
83308 full

Monday's news starts with Big Science and ends with Big Brother:

  • Research out of Utah State offers an explanation for this winter's Western drought/Eastern snow dump conditions. One outside researcher says this "pushes the boundaries" for climate science now: (Seth Borenstein/AP)
The new study blames an unusual "dipole," a combination of a strong Western high pressure ridge and deep Great Lakes low pressure trough. That dipole is linked to a recently found precursor to El Nino, the world-weather changing phenomenon. And that precursor itself seems amplified by a build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, the study says. It's like a complex game of weather dominos that starts with cold water off China and ends with a devastating drought and memorable winter in the United States, said study author Simon Wang, a Utah State University climate scientist.

The study's a part of "an offshoot of a growing and still not completely accepted subfield of climate research," and outside researchers remain cautious about its findings. On to the rest of the roundup:

  • The Sacramento Bee reports that at an all-day meeting about the drought, fish biologist Peter Moyle warned that dozens of species of animals are imperiled by the combination of changing precipitation patterns and the way the state manages its water: (Sac Bee, AP, )
“The problems created by the drought are just a harbinger of things to come,” said Peter Moyle, a professor at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, which hosted a daylong Capitol summit Friday on economic and environmental costs of the drought. Native fish are able to weather natural drought years, but the development of the state’s water system has created the equivalent of perpetual drought conditions for many species, he said.
  • "We know that this year unemployment is going to be significantly worse than it's been in a long time" in California's farming communities, says one analyst. How bad? (SF Gate)
In Mendota, where about half of the 11,000 residents are in families living below the federal poverty line, the jobless rate stood at 37 percent as of the last count in March, according to state data. The mayor of Mendota suggested that unemployment could hit 50 percent by summer as the effects of the drought fully play out - a level higher than what was seen during the recent recession.
  • Mark Grossi throws down in the Fresno Bee, saying that Fresno may be more drought proof than San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Jose. That's because Fresno can tap its aquifers. (Fresno Bee)
  • This time, the state may be really, truly serious about managing its groundwater. (Desert Sun)
  • And, for your parting image: roving bands of utility workers in various communities around the state are driving slowly up and down streets, looking for water wasters to educate about sprinkler systems, drought, and conservation. (Only one in Los Angeles.) (San Diego U-T)

Offer your neighbors up to these utility enforcers in the comments, or share your questions below.

blog comments powered by Disqus

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

What's popular now on KPCC