California drought 'worst in decades'
Saturday, January 18, 2014, 11:11 AM -
California is dealing with a serious drought.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor's latest figures, more than 60 percent of the state is considered to be in an extreme drought. It's the third straight year that California has seen below-average rainfall.
That's the second worst drought category possible, and it's way up from the previous week when less than 30 percent of the state was considered to be in an extreme drought.
The severely dry weather prompted governor Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency for the state on Friday which will give California access to federal funding as they battle the worst drought the state has seen since records began about 100 years ago.
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"We are facing perhaps the worst drought that California has ever seen since records began being kept about 100 years ago," he said at a press conference.
The governor also urged residents to try to conserve water by cutting their use by at least 20 percent.
He says conservation is voluntary at this point, but he says that could change. With the state of emergency in place, water distribution will be able to take place with more ease.
The dry weather has also increased the potential for wildfire. Not that the state needed a push in that direction as January has already record amounts burning. Furthermore the Sierra Nevada snowpack was reported to be at less than 20 per cent of its normal level.
How to conserve water
- Never leave the tap running. Whether you're washing your hands or washing the dishes, make sure you are using the water efficiently. Turn off the tap while you're lathering your hands. If you have a two-bowl sink in the kitchen try to fill one with soapy water and fill the other bowl with water to rinse off the soap.
- Install low-flow shower heads and substitute old toilets with dual-flush toilets. The washroom is one of the key places where water is often misused.
- Try to maximize the amount of drought-resistant trees in plants in your backyard and garden. Also make sure to water plants early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Run the washing machine for full loads only.