About the Drought:

Dry Times Set to Return to California


Sophomore Chloe Postlewaite uses one of Woodside’s water refilling stations.

WOODSIDE,CA – Students’ days of long showers and green lawns may be coming to an end, as new reports point towards the return of drought conditions in the state.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a major source of water in the state, is currently at only 21% of normal levels. The U.S. Drought Monitor confirms the trend of dry weather, classifying over 45% of California as being in a state of moderate drought.

Many students have taken notice of the unusually warm and dry weather over the previous weeks and months, leading them to question the condition of their state’s water resources as well.

Christian Canellos, Woodside senior, comments, “It’s February right now and it’s already way hotter than it is normally in this time of the spring…It feels nice on one level but you’ve got to think about what the summer is going to be like— how hot is it going to be in a couple of weeks and a couple of months from now, and how are we going to keep water this whole time?”

For other students, the prospect of the return of a drought comes as no surprise, as they remember feeling as if the previous drought officially ended too early.

“Honestly, I kind of expected it because, when they first said that the drought was cleared, [I thought that] we went through it pretty fast,” senior Reece Chang reports.

AP Biology teacher Brooke Darmanin explains how the last period of drought came to such an abrupt end.

“Last year was a heavy rain year with El Niño, having a lot more snowpack, a lot more rainfall, so we restored some groundwater there,” she says.

Even though last year’s weather patterns may have temporarily put an end to dry conditions, Darmanin describes years like that as anomalies that contradict a larger trend of dryer weather.

“It’s not necessarily anything that Californians are doing that’s causing a recurring drought pattern,” she tells the Paw Print. “What’s happening with climate change is that shifting currents in the ocean and wind currents in the atmosphere are bringing different levels of moisture up the coastline. So we’re just not getting as much precipitation, either in the summer, fall, or winter, as we were before.”

While water over-usage may not have been a major contributor to California’s drought conditions, the prospect of possibly having to return to water restrictions is unpleasant for both students and adults.

Canellos, who plans to major in environmental policy when he attends Stanford next fall, explains that “a lot of the [methods of fighting the drought] that have been discussed recently are things like mandatory water hours, [or] you can cut back water for individual housing. But that’s a big, hot-topic issue for people because they don’t like the idea of having their utilities limited, even if it would potentially save lives and allow us to have crops growing in California.”

Many students remember feeling this resentment towards limits on their water usage during the previous drought.

“For about a month, I cut down on showers, and then, after that, I kind of went back to my normal [routines],” Chang added. “It was just a force of habit.”

Looking to the future, some are skeptical about Californians returning to their water-saving habits a second time, offering instead a bleak look into what the future holds for the state of our water resources.

“There’s this idea called NIMB —Not In My Backyard— and it’s the idea that people are okay with the idea of environmental security, but they don’t like it if they have to do anything about it,” Canellos explains. “In the future, we’re going to need environmentally-conscious people and environmentally-conscious voters who can make [these] important decisions.”