Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

17 Californian communities could run out of water after drought

California - Bala Sivakumar via Flickr

The recent drought in California could lead to 17 rural communities in the state running out of water within 60 to 120 days, according to state officials

Some of these communities’ wells are running dry, whilst in other areas reservoirs are nearly empty and some have problems that predate the drought, according to local newspaper San Jose Mercury News. The communities have between 39 and 11,000 residents each.

Dave Mazzera, from the state Department of Public Health, said, “As the drought goes on, there will be more that probably show up on the list.”

He added that state officials were working on immediate solution. Transporting water and providing emergency funds to drill new wells are both under consideration. The drought has been described as “serious” and the public are being called upon to voluntarily cut back their water usage.

A state-wide drought was declared over a week ago. Previous extremely dry years in 2003 and 2007 have resulted in catastrophic wildlife seasons. Most of the state has seen little rainfall so far this year following on from the 2013, which saw record low rainfall in many areas.

The extreme weather could be linked to climate change. Scientists have previously studied extreme weather events during 2012, including droughts, and found that climate change had contributed to half of the events.

Further reading:

Obama: climate change is a fact and we need to act quickly

UN secretary-general: ‘water hold the key to sustainable development’

Half of 2012 extreme weather events linked to climate change, says study

UN agency reports on ‘decade of climate extremes’

UN economic losses from natural disasters total $2.5tn this century

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