Climate change certainly has a huge effect. Increased evaporation, decreased snowpack, the stalling of air masses that cause more drying and less wetting, which in turn is caused by changes in the jet stream, which in turn is caused by “Arctic Amplification,” an effect of global warming, are major causes of a three year drought coming hard on the heels of a decade of near-drought dry.
But also, Californian approaches to water management have been an issue. I recently learned that there are communities in California that don’t even have water meters on people’s houses. What the heck? A while back the state asked people to use less water. They didn’t. Just now, the California Water Board implemented a fine for overuse of water, and local communities are asking people to turn in their neighbors who do so.
Here is an interview on All In with Chis Hays of Peter Gleick of The Pacific Institute, on the drought and the response to it.