California is experiencing something that could affect the rest of the nation very soon. While Southern California is a desert, they’ve adapted to the lack of rain in order to sustain the communities in these dry areas. They’ve done so with water management, as well as man-made reservoirs. The systems in place have worked for many years without problems. While water levels fluctuate naturally throughout the year, Californians have never experienced a drought like this before. Here are before and after images of some of the reservoirs around Southern California and the changes they are experiencing over a very short time frame. These are very alarming and will prove to be disastrous if nothing is done soon.
Here is the Green Bridge which crosses Lake Oroville near the Bidwell Marina in 2011. Notice the trees and shrubs near the water’s edge.
Here is a picture taken of the same bridge and lake 3 years later in 2014. Notice the concrete bridge supports which are fully exposed. Now think of the entire lake sitting this low with no change in sight.
Here is the marina at Lake Oroville which represents a perfect day on the water and in the sun taken in 2011. Looks like a great time to me. They have received a little break in the drought and some rain fell recently but it is described as a “drop in the bucket” by city engineers.
Here is the same marina from a similar angle taken just 3 years later. It is obvious that this is an incredible decrease in available water. Many boat ramps have had to be extended just to reach the water line. This is just one reservoir. This is happening all across lower California. Many of the dams in the area have fallen below the record low levels of 1977.
Here the Enterprise Bridge spans Lake Oroville in 2011. The trees came down to the waterline just 3 years ago.
Here you see the same bridge in 2014. Within 3 years, the reservoir has turned into a small stream running underneath the Enterprise Bridge. Again the concrete supports are completely exposed with huge dirt banks lining the side of the stream.
Here is a graph made in late July of 2014 representing the major areas of concern. As you can see most of the state is in an exceptional drought. While they have experienced a short rainfall recently, it is simply a drop of relief in a huge bucket of problems. If this continues expect food prices to raise as well as the number of jobs in California to drop.
This drought will affect jobs and community sustainability. The drought has already affected crop growth and there’s no end in sight. This is also a very big problem when it comes to fires. Everything is so dry, that the smallest combustion would engulf acres in flames and require water to put it out.