The ridiculously resistant high
Many scientists believe the California drought is being caused by a huge high pressure zone off the coast of California. The zone of high pressure is 4 miles high and 2000 miles long. The jet stream that would normally drop down into California this time of year has bumped off this high pressure ridge and been diverted to Alaska, British Columbia and the East Coast. This high pressure ridge has been around for over a year. These types of ridges pop up from time to time, but this high just won’t go away. Learn more about the ridge here.
Another resource I frequently use is the U. S. Drought Monitor. This page is a weekly map of drought conditions that is produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. It provides a visual of drought conditions across the United States. If you want more specific data it allows you to click on regions and states to get more detail. So clicking on California shows you the specifics of the California drought. It also shows the history or trends for the last week, last three months and last year. This helps identify trends. You are either going into a drought or coming out of a drought.
Surface water and ground water
To fully understand the drought in California you need to first understand the difference between surface water and ground water and how the two are interconnected and at times jointly managed. This report from U.C. Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences clearly explains the two and their interconnection.
My five favorite tips to manage outside water during the California drought
- Complete spring start up inspections early to identify sources of water waste
- Implement irrigation system and component upgrades that increase water savings
- Aerate turf and add mulch around trees, shrubs and planting beds
- Prioritize areas that require maximum aesthetic value so water can be applied prudently
- Plan for the short-term, three year vision and long-term (10 year) needs of your property
For extra credit – Weekly Colorado River water report
For those of you who really want to follow closely what is happening with water in the West you can view the weekly Colorado River report from the U.S Bureau of Reclamation. This report provides details on the conditions of water in the lower Colorado River which supplies water to California. The Colorado River is the principle resource for water in California and six other states. California receives an allocation of about 27% form the Colorado River, which is the largest allocation of water for any state.
I hope these resources help you to manage the California drought. I’m sure you have some favorite resources of your own and hope you will share them in the comments section. Please remember a 20% reduction is not difficult to reach. It requires several small changes which helps prevent having to make big changes in the future.
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