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Californians: Brace for More Extreme Weather

As climate change continues to shape our future a storm is brewing in California, both figuratively and literally. Researchers and climate change experts have determined that California’s weather will seesaw between extremes regularly, leading to prolonged periods of drought followed by lengthy periods of rainfall according to the New York Times.

This deadly combination will inevitably cause many vulnerable areas in California to flood. Conservation groups and climate experts are pushing for viable solutions to these looming problems and in response the state of California is investing at least $300 million in floodplain projects to provide a buffer between rivers, dams, and adjoining residential communities when ongoing bouts of rain occur.

A near-disaster has already incurred millions in damages. After five years of drought a series of intense storms in Northern California in 2017 created a breaking point situation at the Oroville Dam. Spillways were damaged as torrential rain pushed the dam’s capabilities.

Runoff forced the operators to release huge volumes of water from the dam. Over 200,000 people were evacuated due to flooding, and the repairs to the dam cost $870 million.

Now the state of California is embarking on a new long-term plan in a race against the clock: restoring the floodplains that went to the wayside when the state was developed. The template is to move levees farther away from rivers and plant trees, grasses, and shrubs in the areas between to soak up excess precipitation and serve as a barrier to flooding.

As the state warms up and rains become more frequent these floodplains will prove vital to homeowners who otherwise would face the full and direct force of floodwaters in times of disaster. But is this undertaking too little too late?

Projects like the Dos Rios seek to alleviate some of the concerns of citizens who live near major waterways. The project will cover more than three square miles near the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, two of California’s most used waterways.

While these habitats and projects are designed to absorb floodwater they will also benefit endangered animals, including many birds and rabbits.

If you live in California there are many steps you can take to do your part and curb the effects of climate change. Reduce the amount of energy you use in your home using simple steps, like installing insulation, changing the settings on your washing machine to cold, and investing in energy-efficient appliances. Read our blog covering the best energy-saving appliances and decide what you can afford to use in your home.

You can also use our water footprint calculator to determine ways to conserve water in your home and keep your contribution to carbon emissions at a minimum. What you learn about your daily household water use could surprise you!

The most effective ways to prevent weather patterns like this is for governments and private corporations to change their policies and work together to reduce pollution, manufacture responsibly, and create a future that is safe for us all. But personal lifestyle changes and discussing climate change with your family and friends also is a powerful way to spread conservationism and sustainability.