California is sinking. So why can’t you save water for drought? : NPR


Bikers splash in nonetheless waters on Freeway 101 in San Francisco on January 4.

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Pictures


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Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Pictures


Bikers splash in nonetheless waters on Freeway 101 in San Francisco on January 4.

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Pictures

A bomb twister hit California this week, knocking out energy, downing timber, and dumping large quantities of water.

Some Californians watch this valuable H20 wash away and surprise, why cannot we save water for the occasions we’d like it most?

The state is grappling with drought, nevertheless it’s not so simple as placing down an enormous bucket, says Andrew Fisher, a hydrogeologist and professor on the College of California Santa Cruz.

Professor Fisher spoke with NPR concerning the challenges dealing with the state, in addition to the alternatives already being labored on.

This interview has been edited for size and readability.

Interview highlights

About how a lot water could be saved for later and the place

A few of it may be caught for later, however the quick reply is that it falls so shortly that we lack the power to take that water and set it apart shortly sufficient someplace we will retailer it for later. The first types of water storage in California are snowpack, which often accumulates yearly, then reservoirs behind dams, after which aquifers.

The problem is that when heavy rains like this fall, they do not kind a snowpack within the low-lying areas. Tanks are inclined to refill in a short time. Then we have now aquifers, they usually have area, nevertheless it’s onerous to get the water the place it is wanted so it could possibly seep into the bottom. And even then, it is onerous to get it quick sufficient.

About totally different challenges with rainwater seize

As a result of water falls at a really quick fee and creates a hazard, we are inclined to deal with storm water as a nuisance and attempt to get it out of the panorama as shortly as attainable.

So, when we have now the choice to dam that water a little bit bit and let it seep into the bottom, that is an enormous alternative. Nevertheless, typically this water isn’t appropriate for consuming. That is a further bottleneck as a result of you’ll be able to’t course of the water as quick because it falls or as shortly because it runs out. After all, the extent of therapy you want could range from place to put, and it is an enormous logistical problem to cope with that water.


The Golden Gate Bridge is seen by means of a mix of rain and falling Gulf waters in Sausalito on January 5.

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Pictures


Cover caption

Swap caption

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Pictures


The Golden Gate Bridge is seen by means of a mix of rain and falling Gulf waters in Sausalito on January 5.

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Pictures

About the place storm water flows when it is not being picked up

He’ll a wide range of locations. A variety of it’ll find yourself within the ocean. A few of it’s diverted and we gather a few of that storm water and direct it towards infiltration basins the place it could possibly seep into the bottom.

There are different folks across the state and across the western United States who’re operating related tasks. So folks attempt to gather as a lot storm water as attainable when we have now that probability. It seems that a variety of water is falling, a variety of water is flowing, so a very good portion of that finally ends up flowing into the ocean.

Concerning the present storm with extra rain

I’ve a pupil group out now, sampling a few of our programs. And we set out right here in between storms, as a result of it is a chance when it is secure to go gather water samples and see what the water high quality seems like. I’ll simply notice that we have now to get extra water into the Earth. We merely do not have a selection

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