Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lady Gaga does a water conservation PSA and other drought news

I concluded The last election report from San Diego by noting that it would “not the last entry that will feature the station’s stories.  I have a whole bunch saved up, including the bulk of the next drought update.”  On that note, here are the stories from the L.A. Times and KPBS on the drought since NASA on California drought and other drought and water stories.  I’m going to violate the “if it moves it leads” policy by succumbing to celebrity first instead.

L.A. Times: Lady Gaga: California's new drought spokeswoman
By Anthony York
February 13, 2014, 3:38 p.m.
Lady Gaga has a new message for all of her “little monsters”: Save water.

The five-time Grammy Award winner will soon be on the air with a public service announcement urging Californians to do their part to help with the state’s drought.

So how did Lady Gaga become the new face of drought awareness? It started when the “Poker Face” singer wanted to use Hearst Castle for what the Hearst Castle Foundation is calling "a special creative project."
For her trouble, Lady Gaga got a thank you note from Governor Brown (reproduced at Buzzfeed).

As I’ve written before, Americans demand their entertainment.  At least Lady Gaga and the State of California figured out a way to deliver it to them sustainably.

Follow over the jump for the drought news from KPBS.

Early last week, KPBS reported Drought Prompts Call For Voluntary Water Restrictions In San Diego County.

In light of the recently declared drought in California, local and county officials are calling for residents to conserve.
The response came a few days later and KPBS relayed it in WaterBoard.

San Diego County Water Authority Adopts Voluntary Conservation Guidelines
By Kenny Goldberg
Friday, February 14, 2014
At a special board meeting, the San Diego County Water Authority unanimously approved a package of voluntary restrictions, aimed at reducing water consumption.

Despite nearly three years of low rainfall, San Diego's supply is much more substantial than in many other parts of California.

That's partly because since 2007, local ratepayers have cut water consumption by 27 percent.
That’s the policy response.  What about the natural one?

KPBS: Drought Could Take Toll On San Diego Bird Populations

The lack of rain in San Diego County could cause dozens of bird species to skip breeding and nesting altogether.
The accompanying article by Susan Murphy on Monday, February 10, 2014, has more.
On a winding path at Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary in San Diego’s East County, a group of families, armed with walking sticks and binoculars, set off on a search for nature.

"Oh! I see a bird,” calls out Sylvia Busby, development and communications manager for San Diego Audubon Society.

Binoculars pressed against their eyes, the wildlife enthusiasts identify the bright blue bird.

“If anyone wants to see what we’re looking at, it’s this western scrub jay,” Busby announces, as she points to her bird book.

But the little bird and dozens of other native species could face a tough spring if dry conditions persist.
There has also been a human response: California Drought Feeds Interest For Water-Wise Landscaping In San Diego.
By Erik Anderson
Monday, February 10, 2014
California's emergency drought declaration is driving up interest in more water-efficient landscaping in San Diego. Cuyamaca College's water conservation garden sold out so far this year.
Education director Elizabeth Ramos said all of the water management classes have had waiting lists so far this year and staff are already booking slots for the next class in March.
At least people are responding rationally.

Finally, there is some good news for the next rainy season: Researchers Watch El Niño Prospects As Dry Conditions In Southern California Persist.
By Susan Murphy
Friday, February 14, 2014
El Niño prospects are growing in the Pacific, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The agency stated there’s a nearly 50 percent likelihood the weather phenomenon, which can bring heavy rains to Southern California, will develop this fall.

But the other 50 percent projects neutral conditions, similar to this year.

Another group of global researchers is predicting an even bigger chance an El Niño event could occur in 2014. In a study published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers stated there’s a 75 percent chance for an El Niño, and that the event could push the global temperature to its highest level on record by next year, exceeding the previous record of 1998, set during an El Niño year.
Here’s to California being able to hold on that long.  The bad news is that El Niño is likely to result in higher global temperatures.  Look for the next fall, winter, and spring to be record setters, including here in Michigan.  Remember, everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch.

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