Tuesday, March 10, 2015

State of the Drought

            Santa Cruz is particularly unique because it relies on rainfall, local surface water and groundwater to secure its water supply.  Its four sources include: surface water from three creeks in the northern portion of Santa Cruz County, groundwater from the Live Oak well system, surface water from the San Lorenzo River, and surface water from the Loch Lomond Reservoir.  No water is imported or purchased from state or federal sources.
With passing storm activity in November and December, hopes were high that the effects of 2014’s drought could be diminished as local watersheds were recharged.  However, Santa Cruz experienced no rain in the month of January, calling into question the state of the drought.  The outlook is precarious: March and April are historically wet months, which has the potential to secure much needed water supplies for the rest of the year.  If dry conditions persist, it is possible that the City of Santa Cruz will have to reinstate the mandatory water rationing penalties that were recently suspended.

To see the state of the Loch Lomond Reservoir and weekly precipitation: Click here

The WADR team! Lauren, Lindsay, Cat and Michael.

 What are we doing to address scarce water supplies here on campus?

            As a team, we're working hard to foster efficient water practices on campus.  We test water fixtures to monitor the water usage on campus, and gather and analyze the data we find to promote and research more efficient practices.  You can find us tabling at events such as last week's successful February Fest or getting involved with the Water Working Group, a collective of different groups and entities on campus that discuss a multitude of issues related to water.

Regional Water Supplies: California

When looking at California’s drought monitor, the situation we are facing seems a bit grim.  Fortunately, there are statewide efforts being made to address the situation with new and innovative approaches.  Take this water challenge to see the cost of different approaches that are being advocated to handle the drought!

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