In the midst of a near five-year drought, half of California may have finally reached the end of what has been a long, dry chapter in the state’s history.
With the help of several powerful storms in the past months, Northern California has been declared out of “extreme drought” conditions.
According to earth science teacher Richard Minnich, Riverside has already received 11 inches of rain to date—already more than what the city receives in an average year. The past precipitation has inundated the state of California, bringing approximately 43 percent of the state out of drought conditions.
“All this rain better have ended the drought,” freshman Kaitlyn Phovixay said. “I lost my favorite tree to these storms.”
While much of NorCal may be out of the drought thanks to the several inches of rain that blanketed this portion of the state in January, a majority of Southern California is still lagging behind, especially in the Santa Barbara area.
“Southern California is usually known for its dry, arid weather,” senior Brian Phan said. “When I visited, the area was extremely damp compared to my previous experiences.”
As of January 17, only 2.13 percent of the state is in extreme drought conditions, compared to roughly 44 percent last year according to the national Drought Monitor. However, rather than slowly and surely, the past weather has attempted to end the drought quickly, causing destruction throughout Northern California and parts of Southern California.
“The storm brought much needed rain to California,” senior Farrahlynn Bonocan said. “However, my fence has fallen due to the powerful winds.”
Although the rain has alleviated some concerns about the situation, maintaining the water levels will be difficult as Californians continually use more groundwater than is discharged.
In his article “Is the Drought Over? Wrong Question,” hydroclimatologist Peter Gleick said, “We should ask ‘Are we managing water in a sustainable manner for the long haul?’” instead of wondering when the drought will end.
To effect change in California, many students have adjusted their habits and behavior by finding economically and environmentally friendly ways of saving water.
“My parents installed an environmentally-friendly toilet in my house to save gallons of water as I use the throne a lot,” senior Brianna Be said.
Other ways students can help to prevent California from falling into another drought is through the smaller things that appear meaningless, but have a larger impact like shorter showers, flushing the toilet less, and watering the lawn less often.
The storm has subsided, but that doesn’t mean following the same path that leads right back to the hurricane. Instead, it is imperative that Californians use the same precautions they have been following.