Technology At California's Folsom Lake, a stark image of state's drought disaster
Facing Drought, Southern California Has More Water Than Ever
Previous droughts motivated the greater Los Angeles region to build new storage and create lasting conservation habits. But vulnerabilities still remain.But water supplies vary across regions, which is why the governor limited a drought emergency declaration to just two northern counties. In fact, highly urbanized Southern California has a record 3.2 million acre-feet of water in reserve, enough to quench the population’s needs this year and into the next.
Folsom Lake, one of California's largest reservoirs, is crucial to providing water to the state's 40 million-plus residents.
But this year, relentlesshave evaporated the already below-average snowpack on the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains that supply the reservoir, bringing the lake's water levels to previously unseen lows.
Speaking to ABC News' Zohreen Shah on what should be the lake's floor, Rich Preston-Lemay, the sector superintendent for Folsom Lake Park, said that under normal conditions, where they were standing would be 70 feet underwater.
California expands drought emergency to large swath of state
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday expanded a drought emergency declaration to a large swath of the nation's most populated state amid “acute water supply shortages" in northern and central parts of California. The declaration now covers 41 of 58 counties, covering 30% of California's nearly 40 million people. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows most of the state and the American West is in extensive drought just a few years after California emerged from a punishing multiyear dry spell.
"The water that we're on right now is used for a variety of things, from drinking water for some of the local municipalities [to] ... downstream on the American River for the fisheries habitat, and then for other water consumers downstream for farming, agricultural purposes," said Preston-Lemay, who's overseen the lake for nearly 20 years.
Worsening drought is currently affecting all of California, threatening cascading issues from farmers' yields to the state's hydroelectric power plants, which could then cause rolling blackouts statewide and wildfires that displace entire communities.
As drought dries California rivers, salmon take truck rides to sea
As drought dries California rivers, salmon take truck rides to seaGOLD RIVER, Calif. (Reuters) - During a typical spring, the silver young salmon swimming in long tanks at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery east of Sacramento would be released into the American River and then make their way out to the Pacific Ocean to grow to adulthood.
California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said the drought is caused by, and that it's no longer a phenomenon they are solely trying to preempt.
"We recognize that we are in a race against time to protect our communities and our natural places from the effects of climate change," he said.
"Climate change impacts have become a matter of protecting communities in California -- worsening wildfire risk, worsening drought, extreme heat," he continued. "We used to think about preparing for climate change impacts as sort of a future planning exercise for coming decades. Now, we're actually responding to it as the public safety imperative."
Crowfoot spoke to ABC Newsafter an exchange at a briefing near Sacramento between him and former President about the effects of climate change on the raging wildfires that spread throughout the state.
California drought is now statewide, bringing major wildfire concerns
The title to the classic 1972 hit "It never rains in Southern California" has nothing to do with climate change or even precipitation for that matter, but it couldn't be more appropriate for the massive drought hitting the entire state this spring. © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images EL DORADO HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MAY 10: Dry cracked earth is visible at the Browns Ravine Cove at Folsom Lake on May 10, 2021 in El Dorado Hills, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in 41 of California's 58 counties, about 30 percent of the state's population.
"We want to work with you to really recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests, and actually work together with that science," Crowfoot told Trump, who hasabout climate change. "That science is gonna be key because if we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we're not going to succeed together protecting Californians."
Crowfoot said that nearly a year later, he's focused on solutions.
"We do have to take action," he said. "We cannot stick our heads in the sand. We have to be driven by science and facts, and actually make the investments and make the decisions we need to both reduce carbon pollution and combat climate change, and also protect our communities in the meantime."
Crowfoot said the state is currently in its second drought season this year. If it continues, he expects the state to take drastic measures like it did in, when it recommended several water-saving measures, like asking people to refrain from flushing their toilets as often.
Medical examiner's office working with families to identify remains in Tennessee plane crash that killed diet guru Gwen Lara
Recovery efforts continued Monday after a plane crashed into Percy Priest Lake in Tennessee, killing seven people, including Gwen Shamblin Lara.Rutherford County spokeswoman Ashley McDonald and Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. John Ingle said at at news conference Sunday night that family members and the medical examiner were working to identify remains.
"If this drought … lasts into a third dry winter, those types of restrictions would certainly be possible, if not expected," he said.
Just this week, Santa Clara County, one of the state's largest, announced that it would restrict water use and that people could face fines for overuse.
California's wine industry, meanwhile, has been suffering from the persistent water shortages. The environmental issues have forced them to adapt. Susan Tipton, winemaker and owner of Acquiesce Winery, said they've already been preparing after her harvest dropped by 25% last season.
"It's a worry," she said. "I wonder if my granddaughter will be able to walk through this vineyard one day and make wine from it."
She said she recently donated a portion of her 18 acres of land to the University of California, Davis so that researchers could study which grapes thrive the most in the changing weather conditions.
To preserve the art of making wine, she said many of the local farmers have placed a tax on themselves, hoping to use the money in part to meet each month with climate scientists.
"It's disturbing," she said. "But I think you have to put a spin on it to think long term and what you can do."
ABC News' Anthony Rivas and Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.
What Matters: The American West is drying out .
The incredible pictures of a depleted Lake Mead, on the California-Nevada border, illustrate the effects of drought brought on by climate change. © Google Earth Timelapse (Google, Landsat, Copernicus) Lake Mead in 2000 (left) and in 2020 (right). The lake, just east of Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona border, is the United States' largest reservoir. Levels have dropped around 143 feet since 2000, when it was last considered full. Later this year, the US government will almost certainly declare the first-ever water shortage along the Colorado River.