A stolen car has just been found in a tank in Marin County, California, 25 years after it was dumped there.
They only spotted it because the water level has dropped so low – a frightening sign of what authorities are calling “historic” drought and the impacts of climate change.
The reasons are simple. “2020 has been the driest year in 90 years, it’s alarming,” said Cynthia Koehler, founder of the WaterNow Alliance and chair of the board of directors of the Marin Municipal Water District.
Water levels are so low in the seven reservoirs that supply Marin County that it and the council have imposed mandatory restrictions on residents. Filling swimming pools and washing cars have been banned, and neighbors are encouraged to report those who violate the restrictions.
“It’s clearly linked to climate change. Climate change and all we know from scientists is that climate change is going to bring us more frequent, more severe and more intense droughts and that’s what we’re going through.” , added Ms. Koehler.
A new once-a-decade update from the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on “normals” reported an “upward change in average temperatures” as evident, particularly in the west and south. western United States. This will come as no surprise to anyone in California.
A state that has seen intensifying forest fires for years only emerged from its last major drought two years ago. Now almost the entire state is classified as being back there.
At the Phoenix Lake Reservoir, two fishermen desperately hang their lines in the water currently at about a third of its normal level. A heron, hopeful of a newly exposed aquatic life, stalks the baked mud bench.
An island has emerged in the middle of the reservoir over the past two weeks. The park rangers do not recall seeing the level so low.
It’s only about six miles as the crow flies to Marin County’s famous weekend playground at Stinson Beach. Scientists have warned that low houses there will be wiped out by rising sea levels within a generation.
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California is climate change in action.
Cynthia Koehler says the state has been successful in improving water conservation over the decades. “In the 1970s, California was saved from drought thanks to the toilets. They used a lot of water and now they don’t. You can no longer buy a flush toilet.
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Now we have to concentrate, she said, on the 50%. 100% of the water used outside the home, on things like keeping thirsty non-native plants alive.
“The pool of opportunities is pretty high,” Ms. Koehler said.
Residents like Jens Jensen have listened to the warnings. He replaced his lawn with artificial turf and has a glass solar tiled roof.
“We have to do it. We see what’s going on now and it’s going to be serious.”
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