Opinion: California is hardly harvesting the deluge
A historic barrage of atmospheric rivers hit California. Across the Sierra Nevada and down through the foothills into the valley, rivers turned into raging torrents, overflowing their banks and flooding entire communities. California’s Central Valley turned into an inland sea, as low lying farms and grasslands were incapable of draining the deluge. That was 1861, when one storm after another pounded the state for 43 days without respite. Despite impressive new terminology our experts have come up with to describe big storms in this century – “bomb cyclone,” “arkstorm,” and “atmospheric river” – we haven’t yet seen anything close to what nature brought our predecessors back in those pre-industrial times over 150 years ago. But we are getting rain this year. Lots of rain. According to the National Weather Service, by the time 2024’s first two atmospheric rivers are done with California, the state will have been inundated with an estimated 11 trillion gallons of water. That’s 33 million acre feet, in just 10 days. Are we harvesting this deluge?
-Written by Edward Ring, a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president.