Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Dylan Foti makes this connection here…

The article “Satellites Show ‘Total’ California Water Storage at Near Decade Low” was uploaded on sciencedaily.com on February 3, 2014. The article relates the WRE domain of hydrology, specifically the quality, quantity, and distribution of California’s water. The article relays the data found by satellites taken of California’s two major water sources, Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins. The team in charge, at the University of California, stated that the water availability in these basins is at the lowest point in a decade. The article goes on to state that due to the record breaking drought, California is soon going to have to start drawing from their groundwater reserves. With my college experience in engineering, I do believe this article is accurate. Lovett (2014) states that California is faced with one of history’s worst droughts, explaining that in January the governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. They also reported that the state reservoir levels are already lower than the last major drought in 1977. Weise and Tucker (2014) has reported that already almost nine percent of the state is in “exceptional” drought, seen in Fig. 1, which is the most severe rank. Based on critical thinking on this article, I feel it failed to give any number values to allow for more of a conceptual understanding. It also could have suggested what could be done to help, or explain how reliant we are as a country on the Central Valley.

Water resource engineering effects and is effected by global, economic, environmental, and societal context areas because of it wide involvement in our world through hydrology and hydraulics. I have identified that the broader WRE context areas of economics and society are impacted by the drought and lower water levels in California. These areas are viewed in the sense that: economics is the production and transfer of wealth, whereas society is the interaction of people, groups, and their government. Based on the article, the drought will affect the economics of the Central Valley, which has such high agricultural production value it will affect the rest of America’s economy. The cause and effect between this drought and economics is with a lack of production, there will be a lack of food, changing food prices, demand, availability, etc. The other area affect is society, specifically the farmer and the government. According to Simon (2014), the House just passed a bill to halt restorations on the San Joaquin for salmon, to allow for more focus on the current water levels. The cause and effects between society and this drought could either be that the people and government don’t make the correct steps, and California is left to rebuild it empty water supplies, they make the right steps and save what is left, or the drought ends soon.

Graph of the drought conditions of California in the last 14 years

Graph of the drought conditions of California in the last 14 years

Image of California’s Folsom Lake, at only 17% of its total capacity

Image of California’s Folsom Lake, at only 17% of its total capacity

Sources Cited

Lovett, I. (2014, January 31). Parched, California Cuts Off Tap to Agencies. NY Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/01/us/amid-drought-california-agency-will-withhold-water-deliveries.html?_r=0

Simon, R. (2014, February 5). California drought: House Republicans take aim at water rules. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-california-drought-house-gop-20140205,0,3778106.story#axzz2sby

Weise, K., & Tucker, T. (2014, February 5). California’s Drought in Two Terrifying Charts. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved February 6, 2014, from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-05/californias-drought-in-two-terrifying-charts

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