Rainless Winter Creates Water Shortages in the Golden State


A. Tucci

Lamorinda has received some rain recently, but is it enough?

Meghan Rogers, Staff Writer

While the East Coast copes with a serious snowstorm, Californians are begging for rain.
Between January and October of 2013, California received only 3.95 inches of rain. This is the smallest amount of rainfall since recordkeeping began 164 years ago, according to the National Weather Service. The driest year on record was 1976, when 5.57 inches of rain fell in San Francisco over 311 days. The average annual rainfall is about 20.78 inches.
For the third year in a row, rain and snowfall have been extremely low in California. In an average year, Los Angeles gets roughly 15 inches of rain, and in 2013 it got 3.5 inches.
On Jan. 17, Governor Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency in California. Residents are being urged to cut back water usage by 20 percent. The Bay Area has record temperature highs as well, some 10-15 degrees above normal. Noteworthy was an irregular fire weather watch which was issued for the North Bay hills recently because of the dry air and vegetation.
The first real rainy day for the Bay Area hit on Feb. 2, but it just barely made a dent in the drought. Oakland has received 2.45 inches of rain; it normally receives 11.78 inches. One rainy day isn’t going to be enough to make a difference.
Students at Miramonte and throughout California have been told to limit their water usage. “My family fills up a bucket with the cold water at the beginning of a shower and uses it to water our garden,” Junior Kara Hom said.
This is only one of many ways to help reduce water use. Cutting back on shower time will help more than one might predict, as 20-40 gallons of water are used in a four minute shower. These are habits that should be practiced regardless of a drought. Because of the lack of rain and snow this year everyone should be extra careful about their water usage.