The dryness continued this past week for the entire Southwest and most of California. This was somewhat tempered by cooler-than-normal temperatures that occurred across the Great Basin, Arizona, and California as well. New Mexico saw an expansion of D2 to the west across the extreme southern counties of the state. Precipitation has been pretty dismal for most time frames out to the Water Year (October 1), with only 25-50% of normal being reported in that period. In California, many locations recorded a record or near-record dry spring.
In fact, on June 4, Governor Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought. On the heels of last winter’s low totals, the water strain has been increased after a disappointing finish to this winter. Final snow water content levels statewide were only around 67% of average and thus streamflow runoff forecasts are only calling for a little more than 50% of normal. As a result of the past 90 days, D0 and D1 have pushed north up the valley and along the coast north of Santa Barbara up to Eureka.
If you consolidate all of the areas that are colored on this map together, that constitutes approximately 45 to 50% of the land mass of this country being in some state of drought. For those who think this only happens in Africa or some place else on the other side of the world, it doesn't. Drought can strike anywhere water has been wasted, mismanaged, and where the effects of climate change and overpopulation are making themselves felt the worst.
According to the IPCC, the Southwest US is one of the areas predicted to be experiencing severe drought due to climate change. And yet, our Congress plays games regarding this crisis as if we have time to continue to squabble over whether it even exists. With water tables in rivers throughout America falling, including and predominantly The Great Lakes, The Colorado River, and Lake Mead which serves Nevada and this area in drought, people must wake up to what their wasteful practices are doing to the environment.
Population increases in this area without proper water management have also led to this stage. We either conserve now, or we will see just how much taking this resource for granted can do to change not only our way of life, but life as we know it.