Limits to Water Supply in California and Our Response

Hira Aziz
3 min readJan 2, 2021
From: California Water Science Center

The climate of Earth is getting warmer rapidly in comparison with the entire history of Earth. The mean temperature of the globe has increased by about 1.8 0F from 1901 to 2016 and it will continue to rise over the next years and beyond. The United States is following this pattern too. According to the thorough study of this change, the main reason behind this climate change is human activities especially the emissions of greenhouse gasses most importantly carbon dioxide (CO2). It is predicted that this temperature could rise to 3.6 0F if we substantially decrease the emission of CO2 (Hayhoe, et al., 2018).

Oceans absorbed 93% of the excess heat of the world which has made the oceans warmer and more acidic. Affecting the precipitation patterns, sea levels, winds, and ocean circulation. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, the annual rate of precipitation has increased in the northern and eastern areas of the United States while the Southern and western states of the US are facing a significant decrease in the precipitation rate since the start of the 20th century. As well as the moisture of the surface soil is decreasing with the large reduction in the snowpack while shifting to rainfall rather than snow. The quality of surface water is also declining with the increase in the water temperatures (Lall, et al., 2018).

These all-climate changes are affecting the state of California as well, according to the Department of water resources of California the running water year (Oct 2019- Sep 2020) is facing below-average precipitation as compared to the past water year and having the 10th smallest snowpack since 1950. These shrinkages in the water resources have shown an abnormal change in the Federal drought monitor map of the United States. Although drought is not surprising drought conditions in the local area of northern California are increasing dramatically. On the 22nd of Sep, 3% of the area of California State was under extreme drought conditions while in just a week it jumped to 13% on the 29th of Sep (Miskus & Sanchez-Lugo, 2020) (Graff, 2020).

Northern California is responsible to meet the 80% demand for the water supply of the entire state and it is getting dryer abnormally (Berwyn, 2020). While southern California is enjoying above-average rainfall. These changes in the water resources require effective management of water supply with new and efficient technologies. First of all research and collecting data regarding drought conditions is very important because informed science management is much helpful and mitigating as compared to the emergency settings such as the installation of a salinity barrier temporarily on the False river for ensuring the inflow of freshwater to the delta (Larsen, 2020).

This all requires resources and creating a continuous drought fund is necessary for conducting research and developing the strategies to cater to these extreme drought conditions as well as improving the predictions of drought (Predicting Drought, n.d.). Another technique to ensure good water supply management is the usage of hydrologic classification of the streamflow patterns (Lane, Sandoval, & Yarnell, 2017). Some other possible solutions are the recycling of the water by using a portable water filter along with this creating biogas by growing algae in water could help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The change in global climate is resulting in a shortage of water resources in the world while California is facing extreme drought conditions and changes in the weather which will remain continue in the coming years and beyond. It is crucial to establish a fund for research and response to the drought conditions to make informed management of water supply in California.



Hira Aziz

Content writer | writes about Business |Management |Finance |Self-improvement |Climate-change. Management contributor at 12Manage