The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers converge in the crucial Sacramento Delta. Water is pumped southward from there to the Central Valley and southern California and is fed by precipitation in the Sierra Nevadas. Unfortunately, the drought will persist in the Sierras, which is bad news for California. It doesn’t really matter if conditions improve in southern California as the vast bulk of its water comes from the Delta.
Some reservoirs in northern California are considerably lower than last year, with some being perilously low. Camp Far West is at a mere 4% of capacity.
In all, the state of reservoirs statewide means that the winter will need about 150 percent of its average precipitation, both rain and snow, to recover, said Ted Thomas, spokesman for the Department of Water Resources.
“If we get another dry winter, our reservoir storage will become even more critically low, and we would expect mandatory conservation to spread across the state,” Thomas said.
Los Angeles is beginning to offer incentives for drought-resistant lawns and water-saving appliances. This is a good start. However, it should have been done long ago. Further, if the drought worsens, then watering lawns should simply be banned.
However, the real solution is to raise the price of water, along with sharply-tiered pricing.