Sonoma County faces driest year on record

Sonoma County is currently enduring an extreme drought and one of the driest winter seasons in recorded history. 

Anyone who has lived in Northern California for the past four years will probably agree that this has been an extremely dry period for the west coast. It seems like every year someone is saying that it’s the “driest season on record,” but unfortunately for this season, it may actually be the case. 

According to gizmodo.com, 2013 was California’s driest season in 119 years. In order to reach the annual average rainfall for the year, Sonoma County would require at least 17 inches of rain in the remainder of the season. 

Central Valley farmers are faced with tough decisions regarding which of their crops must be sacrificed to save a fraction of their harvest because of the lack of rain. Cattle ranchers have also been forced to cut their herds in half, unable to provide adequate food or water to their cattle.

In January, Governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought emergency that included of 20 points of action. “We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens,” Brown said. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”

NASA has also gotten involved by teaming up with the California Department of Water Resources to reach the root of the problem and hopefully figure out what is causing the shortage. They have begun to focus on forecast modeling and remote sensing to discover why these severe changes in weather are occurring. 

Environmental awareness is not a new concept for Sonoma State; the Princeton Review ranked Sonoma State 12th on their list of most green US campuses. All of the toilets in the Recreation Center and the Student Center are low-flow and equipped with recycled flushing water as well as motion-censored faucets to reduce water waste. 

Flora is any native plant life that grows around Sonoma County that creates a more drought-resistant landscape that requires less usage of pesticides. 

Vice President of University Development Erik Greeny said that students need to be mindful of how much water they are using. 

“It doesn’t have to be measured in gallons, but instead of taking a 15 minute shower, take a 10 minute shower,” he says. “We’re in a drought, and water issues are all over the news. Just be mindful; be aware.”