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 Photos


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Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Photos


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

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Photos

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

Some Californians watch this valuable H20 wash away and marvel, why cannot we save water for the instances we want it most?

The state is grappling with drought, but it surely’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 going through 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 will 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 rapidly that we lack the power to take that water and set it apart rapidly sufficient someplace we are able to 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 replenish in a short time. Then we have now aquifers, they usually have house, but it surely’s exhausting to get the water the place it is wanted so it will probably seep into the bottom. And even then, it is exhausting 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 rapidly as potential.

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, generally this water shouldn’t be appropriate for ingesting. That is an extra bottleneck as a result of you may’t course of the water as quick because it falls or as rapidly because it runs out. After all, the extent of therapy you want could fluctuate from place to position, and it is an enormous logistical problem to cope with that water.


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

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Photos


Cover caption

Swap caption

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Photos


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

Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Photos

About the place storm water flows when it isn’t being picked up

He will quite a lot of locations. A whole lot 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 will probably seep into the bottom.

There are different individuals across the state and across the western United States who’re working comparable initiatives. So individuals attempt to gather as a lot storm water as potential when we have now that probability. It seems that plenty of water is falling, plenty of water is flowing, so a great portion of that finally ends up flowing into the ocean.

Concerning the present storm with extra rain

I’ve a scholar group out now, sampling a few of our techniques. And we set out right here in between storms, as a result of it is a possibility when it is protected to go gather water samples and see what the water high quality seems like. I’ll simply be aware that we have now to get extra water into the Earth. We merely do not have a alternative

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