Winter Storms Push Back CA Drought

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Winter Storms Push Back CA Drought

In just a few recent weeks the wet winter has greatly reduced drought conditions here in California. The mountains are covered in snow, Mammoth mountain recently received 11+ feet in just 5 consecutive days.

“The U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday, February 7th, that a large portion of the state including the Sierra Nevada, much of the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area is free of any significant dryness. Heavy rain has also ended most of the moderate drought that stretched from the Central Coast to the southern tier of the state, leaving a lesser condition designated as abnormally dry, according to the monitor.”*

Even before the recent stormy weather, the California Department of Water Resources found the Sierra snowpack above 100 percent of normal, an important reading because it holds about a third of the state’s water supply. It is now well over 125 percent of normal.**

Please Don’t Pick on the Pool Builder

Yes, on the surface it seems like a swimming pool uses a lot of water. Of course, we do not want to waste water, so be sure your pool doesn’t have a leak, a pretty obvious issue. Beyond a possible leak, when you think about the water consumption per square foot on a piece of property, you have many other culprits which waste much more water. The biggest culprit is your luscious green Marathon II sod lawn. This lawn uses much more water per square foot on your property than any other item except for maybe your toilet and shower. We believe the lawn and landscaping needs more attention than the swimming pool.

We did some research and found out that the per square foot evaporation rate of a swimming pool at an average temperature of 75 degrees is almost half of what it takes to maintain a Marathon II sod lawn. This doesn’t take into account the area around a pool known as decking which is either a concrete or other hard surface which requires no water. If you take the square footage of your swimming pool and decking area into account, you will likely see about 50% or less consumption of water compared to a lawn with landscaping.

Bottomline

We desperately need the rain but still need to be #waterwise all year long!

*https://ktla.com/2019/02/07/wet-winter-greatly-reduces-drought-conditions-in-california/

**https://cdec.water.ca.gov/snowapp/sweq.action

El What??? El Niño!

El Niño! It’s no surprise that we’re in a drought; however, many people are unaware of the upcoming event named El Niño. You may have heard of this phenomenon in movies like “Chasing Mavericks” because El Niño is known to cause massive waves, but El Niño is also likely to bring in a wave of much needed rain to the Southwest.

What causes El Niño?

El Niño is a weather phenomenon that is caused by the warming of tropical waters off the coasts of South America. This rarity occurs every 2-7 years as the trade winds weaken and even reverse causing warm water to flow eastward rather than the typical westward direction. This flow of warm water is very minimal and causes a temperature rise of only about 1 degree Fahrenheit along the equator, but the impacts of this temperature change are significant. The warmer water expands and causes sea level to rise anywhere from 6 to 13 inches, the colder water is unable to rise to the surface and wreaks havoc for fishing crops on the eastern coast of South America which rely on cold water, the jet stream drops further south due to low pressure and stronger storms causing larger waves right here in Southern California, and finally rainfall increases dramatically along the west coast of North and South America. In summary, El Niño is beneficial to us through the increase in rainfall and sizes of waves, but damaging to South America, as they are struck with severe storms, and Asia, as they suffer from harsh droughts.

So no more drought?

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Yes and no. El Niño means that we will likely be receiving a larger amount of rainfall, but this in no way means the drought is over. El Niño’s impact on rainfall is largely oscillatory meaning that it is never the same. Climatologists predict the upcoming El Niño will result in an increase in rainfall, but in truth they have little to no idea. This means that we could have anywhere from one to ten extra inches of rainfall which sounds nice but is not that beneficial in the long run. Thus, regardless of the upcoming El Niño’s effects, we will remain in a drought for years to come and the only way to solve this is through cutbacks on consumption. No single person can solve this drought – instead we have to work together and minimize water waste as a whole. I don’t know about you, but we here at Sunset sure are excited about the upcoming El Niño, but by no means does this mean that we are going home and taking 30 minute showers while we leave the sink running. During a drought every drop counts.