San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed Calls for More Action on Drought
July 26, 2014 – Special to the San Francisco Chronicle: California Drought Requires Urgent Action
If California and much of the West is suffering from severe drought, then why have the responses to it been weak and largely ineffective? The answers are as complicated as California’s water system itself, with our wildly diverse sources and uses of water, prices and water rights, institutions, and more. But here are some observations.
By almost any definition, the current drought is severe. The U.S. Drought Monitor, which provides a rough measure of natural conditions, shows 100 percent of California to be in “severe” drought or worse. Other indicators, such as reservoir levels, river flows, water available to farmers and fish, fire risk and stream temperatures, also highlight the drought’s severity. This year will be one of the driest on record, and it is the third dry year in a row.