California, USA

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  • California, USA
    • California drought, 2012 to present
      • Main hazards
        • Subsidence as groundwater levels dropped, causing land to settle at a lower level.
        • Contamination of land and drinking water by seawater, drawn inland by a lack of pressure.
        • Wildfires which started and spread quickly, as vegetation was so dry.
      • In January 2014, California was experiencing its third year of drought and a state of emergency was declared. Lower than normal rainfall and snowfall on the west coast, and dependence on the over-used Colorado River, had caused water supplies to drop.
    • What are the impacts on people and ecosystems in California?
      • Central Valley is the worst affected area.
      • Water diverted, so wetlands and rivers get less - impacts on natural environment and wildlife, e.g. rivers too low for salmon to breed in.
      • Costing California US$2.7 billion a year- less state money to spend on services for people.
      • Increased extraction from groundwater/aquifier causing subsidence - infrastructure and buildings damaged, e.g. in the San Joaquin Valley
      • 542 000 acres taken out of crop production - loss of food and income.
      • Warm and windy weather led to wildfires - environmental damage, air pollution, destroys wildlife and habitats, risk to people's lives and property
    • How have Californians responded?
      • Government: Ran public education campaigns, such as Save our Water. Brought in state laws requiring  a 25 percent cut in water use in California.
      • Organisations: University of California research project for effectively managing groundwater.
      • Individuals: Farmers encouraged to use water-efficient irrigation, such as drip irrigation. Homeowners encouraged to check for water leaks. Protesters campaigned against companies selling bottled local water.

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