Senior Canyon, like nearly all water companies in Southern California, indeed, the western United States, is facing a historic challenge, that is, to supply water to its customers while battling what has become a megadrought. In fact, “The current Southwestern drought is the driest 20-year period since the last megadrought in the late 1500s, and the second-driest since the 800s.” The Washington Post reports that, “More than half of the western United States is in the grips of ‘extreme’ or ‘exceptional’ drought, indicating widespread water shortages and major impacts on crops and pasture. In California, Arizona and Utah, the period between June 2020 and May 2021 has been the driest ever recorded.”
In the New York Times, Nadja Popovich writes, “Extreme conditions are more widespread than at any point in at least 20 years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the government’s official drought-tracking service.” Lake Mead, a critical reservoir on the Colorado River, is nearly 19 feet lower than one year ago. In California, the Governor has already declared a drought emergency in 41 counties. And things will likely get worse before they get better: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts drought conditions will last for an extended period of time.
In Ventura County, the past year has been the driest on record. In April, the U.S. Drought Monitor reclassified most of the county as “extreme,” the penultimate drought classification. The Ojai Valley, which gets no imported water, must rely on dwindling local water supplies; as of late June, Lake Casitas had dropped to 36.7% of capacity. In May, the Casitas Municipal Water District Water Board kept in place a mandatory 30% cut in water use, with more cuts on the horizon without sufficient rain this coming fall and winter. As Cheri Carlson writes in the Ventura County Star, “Another dry winter or two could bring more widespread mandatory cuts by water agencies in California.”
Senior Canyon customers can do their part by following common sense water saving measures both indoors and outdoors. Some good indoor water savings tips are available on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website at: https://www.epa.gov/watersense/statistics-and-facts. For ways to save water outdoors, visit: https://www.casitaswater.org/for-customers/water-conservation/water-wise-gardening-and-landscaping.
Saving water is essential because the drought puts Senior Canyon in the position of needing to buy more water from Casitas Municipal Water District, water that is becoming scarcer by the day. And scarce water means more expensive water. To contend with drought conditions, the company is encouraging shareholders to take advantage of the Landowner Resilience Partnership, a program funded by the State of California Wildlife Conservation Board to promote local onsite water treatments and water-efficient landscaping. For more information, visit www.watertoolkit.org or email SCMWC board member Jim Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Is a Megadrought? by Henry Fountain: https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-a-megadrought.html
‘Megadrought’ and ‘Aridification’ – Understanding the New Language of a Warming World by Tara Lohan: https://therevelator.org/megadrought-aridification-climate/
Here’s what we know about the worsening drought in Ventura County by Cheri Carlson: https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2021/04/30/ventura-county-drought-heres-what-we-know-record-dry-spell/7393267002/
How Severe Is the Western Drought? See For Yourself. By Nadja Popovich: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/06/11/climate/california-western-drought-map.html?campaign_id=54&emc=edit_clim_20210616&instance_id=33138&nl=climate-fwd%3A®i_id=90061457&segment_id=60849&te=1&user_id=e7c45bb80fee28de09e3b6f3ea2b0725
California drought: What we know about local water supplies by Cheri Carlson: https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/2021/06/24/ventura-county-drought-what-we-know-local-water-supplies/7771229002/
Severe heat and drought the hallmarks of a changing west by Scott Wilson and Sarah Kaplan: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/06/19/california-heat-wave-drought/?itid=hp-top-table-main
Follow the warning signs: California is facing a devastating drought. It’s time to take action by George Skelton: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-05-24/skelton-water-drought-newsom-budget-california