By Leo C.
A severe drought has hit the American state of California. Although it is not uncommon for droughts to occur in the state, they usually at most last around a year in length and are usually restricted to drier and desert areas of California. However, this is the third year of record-low rainfall, the situation is rapidly reaching the tipping point and has prompted California to put in laws rationing the use of water in cities and other urban areas, while also maintaining smaller restrictions on agriculture, which uses around 80% of the state’s water.
But however, perhaps there is some good in California’s drought. Yes, that might sound a bit ridiculous at first. But what is even more ridiculous is the way we have forgotten for so long the fact that water is a limited resource. With rivers, lakes, oceans, and all sorts of water bodies all around us, we tend to have an over-exaggerated view of how much water Earth has, and how much of that is drinkable.
Just some examples places drought has silently affected include: the southern Tharparkar region of Pakistan, where drought has taken the lives of at least 100 children, Australia, where forest fires now wildly rage and farmers have so little growing on their farmland many are forced to slaughter their cattle, and northern china, where water shortages from drought have caused nearly half of the rivers in the province of inner Mongolia to become dried up.
Drought’s harmful effects expand past just water shortages as well. To make up for the shortage in water, many people are forced to rely on extremely limited underwater reserves such as springs and groundwater. In fact, in California reserves as old as 40, 000 years are being tapped into and are quickly running out. Since it takes tens of thousands of years for groundwater to accumulate in decent amounts, California will not have an emergency option next time a drought as large as this one hits.
So, what are the benefits of California’s flood? First of all, California is even more significant because it is a major region in the western world and has had plenty of exposure from worldwide media. In addition, many California communities have adopting big water saving strategies. For example, the thin layers of non-native soil and grass which covers much of suburban California is rapidly being replaced by desert plants such as cactuses and are structures making use of sand. In addition, water saving strategies and habits are being formed among California’s population, which although they will mostly be forgotten about once the drought is over, there will surely be some things that will stick around. Most importantly, it is a warning sign to humanity that in the end, nothing can beat nature. If we do not heed the warning now, it could have huge consequences.