Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Brown lawns, the bane of home sellers; bees, the bane of bathers

66019 full
66019 full

Today's #dryku comes courtesy of those geniuses at Stanford (@WaterintheWest):
So why should we care
About groundwater at all
Water flows from tap

Fantastic! Don't forget to submit your drykus to our Twitter account @kpccdryku.

On the news front, we look at drought costs, both expected and unexpected. First, the expected:

  • Things are bad this year. Things will be oh so much worse next year if 2015 proves to be dry as well. That's according to the new drought action report out by the Association of California Water Agencies. How bad? Could be no cotton production in the San Joaquin Valley. (KQED)


  • At least unexpected to me. Realtors are saying that brown lawns are driving down the prices of homes that are on the market. Not only are people turned off by brown lawns, they're shying from the cost of keeping green ones. Will this be the impetus for a drought-tolerant lawn revolution?
“When we got in disclosures, the cost of what they were paying to irrigate, it became an issue for the buyer who actually cancelled the property and ended up buying a property with a drought-tolerant landscape,” [Eagle Realty's Shaun Alston] said. (CBS Sacramento)


  • Bees! They're seeking out water and apparently are finding it at water parks. One park says it's seen a 50 percent increase in the hymenopterans. (Increase that vocabulary!) (KMVT)
  • Trout! California Fish and Wildlife workers were out rescuing endangered steelhead trout from a shrinking creek. (CBS SF Bay Area)
  • Smelt! Some groups have sued to block proposed water transfers into the south San Joaquin Valley. They say it could hurt the Delta smelt.

Beer cutbacks:

  • Don't despair — the cutbacks are on water usage at breweries. Big beer companies say they've made big reductions in their usage. The article makes an interesting point about craft brewing:
Some craft beer-makers are also working to cut down on water usage while increasing market share. The number of brewers in the U.S. has expanded to its highest level since the 1870s, mostly because of an explosion of craft breweries. Without the technology or scale of big brewers, craft brewers use on average as much as twice the amount of water for every barrel of beer. (AP via Contra Costa Times)

How has your community been affected by the drought? Share your story with a photo on Twitter or Instagram. Tag it #mydrought. For more details on our photo project, click here.

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