What Is the Cost of California Water Supply

California has been growing steadily since the sixties in economic prowess and in population. California’s population was approximately 15 million people during the sixties and has grown to just under 40 million people currently. California has also grown as a world leader in agriculture production turning the once dry central valley to the largest exporter of almonds and other varieties of fruits and nuts. But this growth has come at a cost, managing California’s fragile water supply. “California has experienced major droughts in 1966, 1968, from 1976 to 1977, from 1987 to 1992, from 2006 to 2009, and from 2011 to the present.

” (Kavounas 1073) The lack of steady rainfall over the years have taken its toll on the states ground water and water table reserves. In a wet year snow fall in the High Sierras would create a snow pack that would replenish most of the water used through out the state. “The Sierra snowpack often is called the state’s largest reservoir. As it melts during the hot, dry months, water flows into the massive network of reservoirs that ring California’s Central Valley.

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They store the water and release it to cities and farms throughout the year.” (Sabalow and Kasler). California water consumption is broken up into three categories across the state, urban use roughly 10%, agricultural 40% and environmental 50%. These number will vary depending on region within the state the season itself was it wet or dry. Because the droughts have persisted over many decades’ conservation efforts have been implemented at the state level to curb use among the urban population.

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Conservation efforts range from limited personal water use per day to, replacing yards with drought tolerant landscaping, replacing plumbing fixtures with low water consumption devices. Conservation efforts have helped reduce water consumption among urban users “Even before the latest drought, per capita water use had declined significantly—from 232 gallons per day in 1995 to 178 gallons per day in 2010—reflecting substantial efforts to reduce water use through pricing incentives and mandatory installation of water-saving technologies like low-flow toilets and shower heads. In 2015, per capita use fell to 130 gallons per day in response to drought-related conservation requirements. “(Jeffrey Mount, Ellen Hanak).

California agricultural water use is the largest category overall and one that puts the most pressure on the state to regulate. California farmers generate roughly 50 billion in sales annually and export roughly 20 billion in fruit and nuts globally. So what does that mean to us as it relates to water consumption? Here is some data to help put into perspective. “In California, vegetables need irrigation water to grow as it does not rain during the growing season, April through September. In practice, many vegetables need an application of water 2 to 3 feet deep to complete their life cycle, so on a volume basis this would add up to 2 to 3 acre-feet of water. “(Baldocchi). So if you were standing in a field of lettuce, image water up to your waist that’s what’s needed to grow that lettuce. California farming community has nine million acres that need to be watered annually. Due to the lack of rain, the state has been pulling water from our underground water table for the last forty years. The Tulare Basin and the Central Valley have been pulling water since the fifties to supply the agriculture demand of the central valley.

“Greater reliance on groundwater during the drought has caused land subsidence on a large scale in the Central Valley (in some cases more than 12 inches of subsidence in 2014 alone)” (Harter). Just so we are clear subsidence means the ground is sinking because so much water has been removed. The state has implemented a vast system of waste water treatment plants in an attempt to clean and recycle water in an efficient manner. There are over 900 treatment plants throughout the state that take in roughly 4 billion gallons of waste daily. This waste goes through a through cleaning and sterilization process so the water can be reclaimed and recycled for urban irrigation use or for agriculture.

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What Is the Cost of California Water Supply. (2021, Dec 21). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/what-is-the-cost-of-california-water-supply-essay

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