The entire state of California is now under drought emergency

October 21, 2021 by  
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A drought emergency has been declared for California. On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom made a statement urging residents to use water responsibly. The statewide drought emergency  declaration comes just a few months after the governor declared a drought emergency in selected counties.  “As the western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it’s critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible,” Newsom said. Related: Drought drops Lake Tahoe’s water level dangerously low In July, Newsom declared a drought emergency in most counties. The Tuesday declaration expanded this declaration to the entire state. The governor also urged residents to cut 15% of their daily water use and empowered the Water Resources Control Board to tackle water wastage practices such as washing sidewalks and driveways. According to E. Joaquin Esquivel, the chair of the California water board, residents have been responsive in controlling water use. Esquivel says that the response from locals has been encouraging and helped conserve water. Recent reports say the state should expect to receive some rain and snowfall towards the end of the month. However, this may not be enough to cure the drought that has lasted three years in some areas. Experts say that California would have to receive up to 140% of its average annual precipitation to end the drought. California recently recorded its driest year in almost a century. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the 2021 year was the driest since 1924. Some places such as San Francisco have received less than half of their annual precipitation this year, a situation that has driven water shortages. “[E]xtreme conditions that once were rare are occurring with increased frequency,” the Department of Water Resources said. “California’s climate is transitioning to a warmer setting in which historical relationships among temperature , precipitation and runoff are changing.” Via HuffPost Lead image via Pixabay

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The entire state of California is now under drought emergency

Drought drops Lake Tahoe’s water level dangerously low

October 14, 2021 by  
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It’s been a bad year for  Lake Tahoe . A usually busy summer season saw empty shorelines as people evacuated from the Caldor Fire. And now California’s drought has dropped the lake’s water level to a four-year low. Usually, Lake Tahoe sits above the basin’s natural rim, letting water flow into the Truckee River. Now, with the level low and the lake cut off, algae will bloom and wash up on popular tourist beaches. Everything depends on this winter. Lake Tahoe needs an above-average snowfall to boost the lake up past its rim again and remain there throughout next summer. Related: Evacuations ordered as Caldor Fire moves toward Lake Tahoe This isn’t the first time Lake Tahoe’s  water  level has fallen so low. But Geoffrey Schladow, who directs the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, is concerned. “It’s a sign of change at the lake,” Schladow said, as reported by The Guardian. “Change is very difficult to manage … When we start seeing things we’ve never experienced before at a greater frequency, it’s challenging.” The big danger, he said, is next summer. The low lake level has already affected Tahoe tour operators. Suddenly  boat  ramps lead to dry ground. Tour boat owners had to get creative to get clients on the lake. “You can’t get within 150 yards of the normal shoreline,” Kesley Weist, owner of tour operator Clearly Tahoe, told the San Francisco Chronicle. To make things worse, the lake got unusually warm last summer, a recipe for harmful algal bloom and other invasive species. Not the ideal circumstances for a healthy ecosystem and happy  tourists . While the wildfires and drought are part of a bigger climate picture, Schladow suggested that if people drove less in the Tahoe Basin and reduced fertilizer use on their lawns and gardens, the lake could be healthier and less prone to algal growth. “A lot of what we’ve been advocating is to try to build the resilience of the lake to climate change,” he said, as reported by The Guardian. “This is going to keep happening – how can we make the lake better able to withstand it?” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Drought drops Lake Tahoe’s water level dangerously low

Severe droughts cause 14% drop in US hydropower generation

September 24, 2021 by  
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In 2021, electricity production by hydropower plants across the U.S. will reduce by 14% compared to 2020 levels. This is due to the extreme drought conditions affecting western states. The U.S. Energy Information Administration stated in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) that the drought will significantly affect water levels, causing some rivers to dry. States such as California and those in the Pacific Northwest, which are major contributors to U.S. hydroelectric power, have faced “extreme and exceptional” drought conditions in 2021. The Columbia River, the country’s fourth-largest river by volume, contributes immensely to hydropower generation. Its watershed runs through four states, including Washington , Idaho, Montana and Oregon. In 2020, the hydropower generated in these states was 136 billion kWh, accounting for 54% of all hydropower generated in the U.S. Related: Hydropower demand is damaging Indigenous lands The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Water and Climate Center (NWCC) has provided data showing that reservoir storages in Washington and Montana are at or above average. Even so, reservoir storage in Oregon measured just 17%. Historically, reservoir capacity in the state averages 47%. Another drought -affected state, Idaho, reported a reservoir capacity of 34%, compared to its historical average of 51%. The low water levels in reservoirs threaten power generation. And the situation may get worse as droughts continue. After record-breaking heatwaves hit major areas of the Columbia River Basin, officials issued drought warnings in several counties across Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The critical role played by these states in hydropower generation has been under continuous threat in the past decade. While California alone accounts for about 13% of the U.S. hydroelectric power generation, plants in California only contributed 7% in 2020. With the state experiencing widespread drought, it is expected that the power generated this year will be even lower than last year. In August, the second-largest reservoir in California at Lake Oroville hit an all-time low of 35% capacity, forcing a temporary closure of the Edward Hyatt Power Plant. This was the first time the plant went offline since 1967. This year, the state’s power generation has fallen on the lower end of its 10-year range. Via Renewable Energy World Lead image via Pixabay

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Severe droughts cause 14% drop in US hydropower generation

Worst drought in a century has hit over 93% of West Coast

July 14, 2021 by  
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Western U.S. states are experiencing the worst drought in the past century. Figures released by the U.S Drought Monitor show that 93% of the land in seven Western states is under drought. Further, about 59% of the land is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. These figures are the worst conditions recorded in the past 100 years. Before this year, the standing figure for the amount of Western land in extreme or exceptional drought was 43%, set in 2003. The extreme drought conditions experienced this year in Arizona, California , Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and most parts of Utah are the worst in a century. The extreme drought conditions pose risks of widespread fires and food shortages. The National Interagency Fire Centre has issued a warning that those living in Western states should be careful and watchful due to the high risk of wildfire outbreaks. Residents have been urged to remain vigilant over the next three months to avoid serious fires and losses. “Last year, we had a lot of wildfire and a lot of smoke. It would be very surprising if that did not happen again this year,” said Douglas Kluck, NOAA’s director of regional climate services in Kansas City. The threat of food shortages and farming losses has also been highlighted. Agriculture Department data shows that the extreme weather threatens several crops . Among the crops at risk are sunflowers, barley and wheat. The data further shows that the drought’s effects may be felt as far as Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. Dennis Todey, director of the USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, has warned that conditions are not looking good for the North either. “We have huge concerns up in the northern Plains. Conditions are not good.” To deal with the high risk of forest fires , several national forests have imposed new rules that limit human activities within the forests. At least eight national forests in the seven Western states have imposed fire restrictions. Further, fishing is prohibited in several rivers due to low water levels. Via Scientific American Lead image via Pixabay

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Worst drought in a century has hit over 93% of West Coast

Worst drought in a century has hit over 93% of West Coast

July 14, 2021 by  
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Western U.S. states are experiencing the worst drought in the past century. Figures released by the U.S Drought Monitor show that 93% of the land in seven Western states is under drought. Further, about 59% of the land is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. These figures are the worst conditions recorded in the past 100 years. Before this year, the standing figure for the amount of Western land in extreme or exceptional drought was 43%, set in 2003. The extreme drought conditions experienced this year in Arizona, California , Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and most parts of Utah are the worst in a century. The extreme drought conditions pose risks of widespread fires and food shortages. The National Interagency Fire Centre has issued a warning that those living in Western states should be careful and watchful due to the high risk of wildfire outbreaks. Residents have been urged to remain vigilant over the next three months to avoid serious fires and losses. “Last year, we had a lot of wildfire and a lot of smoke. It would be very surprising if that did not happen again this year,” said Douglas Kluck, NOAA’s director of regional climate services in Kansas City. The threat of food shortages and farming losses has also been highlighted. Agriculture Department data shows that the extreme weather threatens several crops . Among the crops at risk are sunflowers, barley and wheat. The data further shows that the drought’s effects may be felt as far as Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. Dennis Todey, director of the USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, has warned that conditions are not looking good for the North either. “We have huge concerns up in the northern Plains. Conditions are not good.” To deal with the high risk of forest fires , several national forests have imposed new rules that limit human activities within the forests. At least eight national forests in the seven Western states have imposed fire restrictions. Further, fishing is prohibited in several rivers due to low water levels. Via Scientific American Lead image via Pixabay

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Worst drought in a century has hit over 93% of West Coast

LA County beaches close after an 8-hour sewage spill

July 14, 2021 by  
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On Monday night, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an  order to close  several beaches along Santa Monica Bay following a raw sewage spillover on Sunday. An estimated 17 million gallons of untreated sewage were discharged into the water after the Hyperion Water Reclamation sewage treatment plant experienced a power outage. Treatment plant officials said they had to release 6% of the plant’s daily load to avoid an even bigger problem. The spill lasted for over eight hours and led to the closure of all public beaches within the affected area, including El Segundo Beach and Dockweiler State Beach. According to the closure notice, all the beaches will be closed for at least one week and will only reopen after water tests show no elevated level of bacteria. Related: Atlantic has 10 times the microplastics previously thought Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn has condemned the occurrence and says that she is still looking for answers from the officials at the sewer plant. She has questioned the amount of raw sewage discharged and the time taken for the plant to notify the public. “What happened yesterday was unacceptable and dangerous. Not only did the Hyperion Plant release seventeen million gallons of sewage into our ocean — the public had little to no information about it for hours,” Hahn said in an interview. “We need answers from LA City Sanitation about what went wrong and led to this massive spill, but we also need to recognize that LA County Public Health did not effectively communicate with the public and could have put swimmers in danger.” Spills in L.A. County have almost become a norm, with several minor spills occurring already this year. According to Heal the Bay , a total of 75 sewage spills have happened in Los Angeles County between 2020 and 2021. These minor spills account for 346,888 gallons of sewage waste.  The county’s last major spill occurred in 2015 when about 30 million gallons of waste were released into Santa Monica Bay by Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. Although the plant had to pay a settlement of $2.26 million, this clearly hasn’t stopped recurring sewer spills.  Via CBS News Lead image via Pixabay

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LA County beaches close after an 8-hour sewage spill

Osokoa produces fun, playful organic children’s clothing

July 14, 2021 by  
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The year 2020 stands out as the year of the pandemic, and inasmuch, many people took advantage of opportunities to follow their dreams. Barcelona brand Osokoa stands as an example of how passion and determination gave birth to a longstanding vision of producing a premium, organic clothing line for children. The company describes itself as an “emotion brand”, a label it proudly wears in its gender-neutral clothing made from certified organic cotton . “Emotions and hopes go hand in hand. We make dreams in cotton, design smiles from the heart and bring together concepts in a way of dressing. Comfortable, quality, original, respectable, environmentally friendly and with a message!” Related: Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified That message is positivity, and it’s a theme woven throughout the product messaging. Osokoa explained, “Our collections ‘Self Esteem’ and ‘Hope’ were inspired by vitality, good energies and changes in the world, with big plans and positivity for the future.” The company’s mission is to take pride in the products it sells, with attention to a selection of natural materials , sustainable manufacturing and long-lasting garments. “We try with all our heart to give the best of ourselves and for that reason we have the invaluable help of smiles, joy and enthusiasm!” Let’s face it, the fashion world ranks near the top of the most damaging industries for the planet. Osokoa breaks away from the bad habits of fast fashion by starting with locally sourced, 100% organic, GOTS-certified cotton. It then relies on local, chemical-free manufacturing in the well-developed textile region in Barcelona. This minimizes transportation-related pollution and provides fair-trade jobs within the community. Osokoa also invests in ways to use minimal water and electricity in the process. Each decision along the process leans into choices that are best for the environment, right down to careful selection of the cardboard and other packaging the company uses. Almost all the materials used by Osokoa are recycled and can be reused. + Osokoa Photography by Gabitorohh Gabito via Osokoa

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Governor calls for reduced water usage amid 2021 California drought

July 12, 2021 by  
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Governor Gavin Newsom has placed 50 of California’s 58 counties under a drought  emergency  order, and the number may grow. The latest to join the order are those located north of the Tehachapi mountains. This includes Marin, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Inyo, Santa Barbara and Santa Clara counties. “Those are the effects of climate change. It’s here, and it’s human-induced,” Newsom said, as reported by ABC. “I think in the state of  California , we’ve moved beyond the debate and are moving toward finding a solution.” Related: California farmers find ways to work with less water Instead of mandating and enforcing water restrictions, Newsom is asking for people to voluntarily comply. The goal: reduce  water  usage by 15%. This goes for agricultural and industrial uses, as well as residential. “We’re hopeful that the people in the state of California will take that mindset that they saw in the last drought and take that forward,” Newsom said. California has allocated $5.1 billion to deal with the drought, including emergency response and investing in the state’s water infrastructure. California’s largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, hold less than half their usual amount of water, according to the state Department of Water Resources. Both  lakes  are in Northern California. Southern California is currently faring better, with Castaic Lake at 58% of its average level, and Lake Perris with notably more water than it usually holds this time of year. Last year’s dry winter means California fell below its usual snow total. Pair that with extreme heat, and you have severe  wildfire  risk this summer. For those who want to think of new ways to save water during the California  drought ,  Save Our Water  has conservation tips for your home and yard. If you tend to do many small loads of laundry, leave the water on while brushing your teeth or enjoy hosing down your sidewalk, consult this site immediately for alternatives and advice. Via ABC Lead image via Pixabay

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Meejee sets sustainable goals for skincare with less plastic

July 12, 2021 by  
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The plastic crisis starts with petroleum-based products, is facilitated by consumer consumption and expands to pollution of the land and water. Plastic never completely goes away, and microplastics are now found in nearly every animal and plant on the planet. The beauty industry is a major contributor to this issue, thanks to excessive plastic packaging for deodorant, makeup, skincare and more, not to mention many of these products can only be used for a short period of time. Meejee, a skincare company that acknowledges the problem, aims to be part of the solution. Meejee reported, “Within the beauty industry, there have been 76.8 billion units of plastic packaging in 2017 alone and a majority of those units end up in landfills and our oceans, a problem polluting the Earth’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems.” Related: Haeckels delivers zero-waste skincare with Bio Restore Membrane To counter the issue, the company has designed a facial cleansing massager with a handle made from recycled plastic . The body is made from silicone, a material made from a natural chemical element, silica, found in sand. Silicone is widely seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic, namely because it’s not made from petroleum. In addition, silicone is extremely durable, meaning it offers an impressively long lifespan. That durability keeps it from degrading into microparticles in the same way plastic does. Plus, silicone is gentle and non-abrasive as a skincare material. It’s also antimicrobial, because bacteria and skincare just don’t mix. Meejee contains an internal battery that can last up to a full year without a recharge. When it is time to power up, the most difficult part might be remembering where you put the USB charger. There are no wasteful replacement brush heads, either, so it might be the last face-cleaning massager you ever need. Staying true to its commitment “to close the plastic loop and create a sustainable future,” Meejee partnered with PlasticBank, an organization dedicated to reversing the trend of increasing ocean plastic. Each Meejee purchased equates to nearly 100 plastic bottles kept from entering the ocean. + Meejee Images via Meejee

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Meejee sets sustainable goals for skincare with less plastic

This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

April 21, 2017 by  
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In 1959, the small village of Caowangba in China ’s Guizhou Province had a problem – a drought had dried up all the nearby water sources, and residents were forced to rely on a single well for drinking water. Even that single well was faltering, sometimes leaving the people of the town without enough water to go around. Worse yet, the town’s single rice paddy had dried up, making it hard for residents to access enough food. Something had to be done. But rather than give up and move to a new home, one man named Huang Dafa decided to lead an ambitious project to dig a 10-kilometer canal along the face of several sheer cliffs to bring water to his home. It took 36 years and at least one failed attempt, but now enough water flows to the city to provide food and drinking water to everyone. Many have compared Dafa to the legendary figure Yu Gong , an old man whose determination caused the gods to literally move mountains from his path. At only 23 years old, Dafa made the project his life’s work. To build the canal, villagers had to carve along the sheer cliffs of three karst mountains , dangerous work that involved climbing up the side of the mountains, tying themselves to trees, and rappelling hundreds of meters down the cliff to dig. Related: Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest Naturally, it took a bit of persuading before anyone else in town was willing to take on this dangerous work. But in the end, the only other option was to do nothing and watch the town continue to struggle. Unfortunately, after a decade of work, the first attempt at a canal was unsuccessful in bringing water to the city. It wasn’t a total waste: the effort did create a tunnel through the mountains that allowed for easy travel through the stone, rather than around, which is still in use today. Dafa realized they needed a better understanding of irrigation to make the project work. So he left to study engineering for several years, and planned his next attempt even more meticulously. In the early 1990s, he persuaded the villagers to try again. The workers often slept in caves along the cliff side, and the remote location made it difficult to reach them in case of emergency – in fact, Dafa was working in the mountains when his daughter and grandson passed away, unable to reach them before they died. Related: Hundreds of beehives hang off a steep cliff in China to save wild honeybees Finally, in 1995, the new channel was finished, and water began to flow to Caowangba. As if the channel weren’t enough, Dafa’s efforts were also responsible for bringing electricity and a new road to the town that same year, allowing the residents to step into the modern era. Now, the community is thriving, and Huang Dafa is celebrated as a local hero at 82 years old. The channel provides running water to three other villages that happen to cross its path as well, providing water to 1,200 people and allowing them to grow 400,000 kilograms of rice every year. Via Oddity Central Images via VGC , China Daily

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