El Nino for California now probably a non-event. The drought will continue


El Nino conditions in the Pacific are weakening. This means California, which desperately needs rain, will get a weak El Nino if it gets one at all. Thus, there will almost certainly be no deluges of rain.

California needs to get a clue about water. It is the only western state that does not regulate groundwater pumping. Phoenix and Tucson have made great progress in using less water. Las Vegas recycles and reuses all indoor water, including what it flushed down toilets. By contrast, Bakersfield currently has no water rationing and much of the rest of California is lackadasical at best about cutting back on water usage.

If the drought drags into a fourth year, dozens of cities across California will see strict water cutbacks, including rationing, said Jay Lund, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis. The state, he said, also is more likely to put in place rules regulating groundwater pumping and other long-delayed water efficiency reforms.

California recently imposed feeble $500 fines for overwatering lawns and hosing down driveways yet still is doing nothing about agricultural water use. Lawns do indeed use huge amounts of water. Perhaps a better solution is to ban grass lawns in arid and semi-arid areas. Some cities have already done this.

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