The most populous state in the United States, which is also America’s orchard, is faced with difficult trade-offs to reduce its water consumption.
Official figures this week came to confirm what many in California were anticipating: The state is in the throes of a historic drought. The Golden State just had the driest year in nearly a century. In question, precipitation at the lowest since 1924, which is no longer sufficient to replenish the water reservoirs, and the highest temperatures – the summer was the hottest ever recorded – which worsens the evaporation of the soils. Now, according to the U.S. Drought Watch Center, nearly 90 percent of California suffers from extreme or exceptional drought. And experts fear the next twelve months will be even worse, as the climatic phenomenon of La Niña, heralding a dry winter, has begun to take its toll.
In early April, which traditionally marks the end of snowfall, snow reserves in the neighboring Sierra Nevada – the source of about a third of the water used in California – were
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