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Experts Believe California Could Be Entering a Megadrought; Jay Lund Discusses

Experts Believe California Could Be Entering a Megadrought; Jay Lund Discusses



SACRAMENTO, CA - Word of a “megadrought” is swarming around California as we kick off 2022 with a few weeks of dry winter weather. While California cities were met with heavy amounts of rain and snow at the end of 2021, water challenges persist, and the state may be entering a third drought year reflected by the dry start to 2022.

Jay Lund, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis“It looks like, with a warming climate and climate change, it’s going to become more like this,” said Jay Lund, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of California, Davis, and Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences.

Experts say that California is in the grip of a “megadrought,” as the state has experienced drought in 15 of the last 20 years, according to UC Davis. Lund noted that there is still academic debate around whether the state has actually entered a megadrought, or periods of drought lasting decades or even centuries. However, higher temperatures across the state as a result of climate change are making smaller droughts bigger, as explained by ABC 10.

Water challenges persist in California, and the state may be entering a third drought year reflected by the dry start to 2022

“There is not a big change in total average precipitation in California, but what we have seen is that it comes more as rain than as snow,” Lund added. “And so, we have less runoff in the spring, and also, the higher temperatures cause more of that precipitation to evaporate away before it can become streamflow or reach large aquifers. I think particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, there’s going to be probably half a million to a million acres of irrigated lands that have to become fallow.”

While the debate over the term “megadrought” persists, water conservation practices remain top of mind for many California residents, especially as the drought directly impacts agriculture, one of the state’s largest economic engines.

AndNowUKnow will keep a close watch to see how these weather challenges impact the industry, and the many useful strategies to overcome them.