California is not alone — Washington has joined the drought ranks.
The severe drought conditions in the state of California are well-known in recent days. It has only been a few weeks since Governor Jerry Brown issued his Executive Order, calling for an immediate reduction in urban water use statewide. Now it appears that California is not the only state experiencing severe water shortages.
Governor Jay Inslee of Washington has declared a statewide drought emergency for 48 out of 62 watersheds in the state. The water supply in these watersheds is at 75% of normal or below, causing distress for consumers due to the shortages. The blame for the shortages is being placed on significantly low snowpack amounts, which are currently at 16 percent of normal for the state. This is also 10 percent lower than the snowpack level in 2005, the last time a drought emergency was declared (Washington State Department of Ecology, 2015).
Severe drought conditions for the United States are expected to become worse, becoming a “mega-drought” by 2050, according to climate scientists (Breslin, 2015). It is expected that as greenhouse emissions continue rise, so will the expected chance of long-term (decades long) drought conditions. Additionally, demand for water continues to increase as populations and urban development grow. It is becoming increasingly important for conservation efforts to be implemented in order to prepare for this mega-drought.
For those interested, check with local water authorities and resource management in your area for ways to reduce your demand on water supplies.
Every drop counts.
Breslin, S. (2015, March 27). Drought. Retrieved from weather.com: http://www.weather.com/climate-weather/drought/news/megadrought-scientists-reddit-ama-0
Washington State Department of Ecology. (2015, May 15). Washington Drought 2015. Retrieved from Department of Ecology: State of Washington: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/drought/