Water Security In California Essay

1896 words - 8 pages

California Water Security

Much of the American West is experiencing historical water shortages; however, California, the most populous state with 38 million people, has been hit the hardest.
California is the world’s sixth largest economy, despite only being a state. Historically, California has had an abundant amount of water. When pipes and damns and reservoirs were built up, rural regions of California were given huge quotas for water, furthermore the price of water was incredibly cheap. There was no stress on the need for water – modern California is not like that. For the past four years, California has been suffering from the worst drought in its history. Due to this, many efforts ...view middle of the document...

Water quotas for them have been lowered in order to supply rest of the population, farmers had to strategise and use what water they were given, all whilst maintaining efficiency.
Farmers had to irrigate their crops efficiently, one method was to use drip irrigation. This meant that crops only got the water they needed and when they needed, plus less water was gone to the surrounding environment as waste. Previously sprinkler systems were used, these were very inefficient as majority of water evaporated instantaneously as it was sprayed into the air and also went to places that did not need water. Drip irrigation is said to be 90% more efficient; however, it comes at a cost. The farmers themselves have to spend to make the foundations of the irrigation system – which is very high.
Another water conservation method that farmers have used is to stop growing water intensive crops such as rice, cotton and alfalfa – these crops weren’t very economically sustainable, only 10% more profit was made. To counter this, farmers decided to grow crops that were easier to irrigate and flourish, such as grapes and almonds. Grapes also meet the demand for wine makers, and thus proved with a higher income.
The methods that the farmers are using to conserve water, are in my opinion are good as not only do they aid in California managing their water supply and becoming more sustainable in terms of water usage, they are also benefitting themselves by bringing in more money from crops that meet demand and at the same time are easy to grow.

Domestic water usage
11% of California's water goes towards domestic/urban water usage. This includes homes, businesses, industry and public services (cleaning, fire fighting etc.). Californian citizens have recently become aware of the environmental impacts of their growing demand for water – residents of Palm Springs are beginning to realise that they live in an area with desert climates and water is something they need to not abuse.
Quite a few methods of water conservation have been advised to the general public across Southern California, both from new technologies that have been implemented and also from common household habits that help save water.

Water Transfer
Another solution to aid with California's water security is water transfer. Currently, California depends on two major water supply lines The Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. The Colorado River also plays a major part in providing Californians with water. Since the majority of California's water falls in the north, water there is regulated and stored. It is then transported to the San Joaquin Valley, which is in water deficit, through a series of pumping plants, pipes, canals and aqueducts.
The State Water project was created in 1933, it contains 20 major dams and reservoirs – providing electricity, irrigating 0.3 million hectares of farmland and providing clean drinking water to nearly 20 million Californians.
The other project...

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