California Drought: what is currently happening?

The state of California has been in a serious drought the past three years; 2012 to 2015 were the driest consecutive years according to the California Department of Water Resources. California has had serious droughts in the past, but in 2007 to 2009 a statewide proclamation of emergency was put into effect. This was the first time there was a state of emergency proclaimed, and the second time was between 2012-2015.

The most recent drought is also unique because it has been the driest consecutive period of time in the state of California, and new high climate records have been set in this time. The years 2014 and 2015 were the warmest and second warmest years in 121 years of climate records, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

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Photo Courtesy: Golden Gate Weather Services

Is the drought over?

Since the drought has continued on for a few years, people are asking, “When will the drought be over and how will we know it is over?”

There has been rain recently, but according to the California Nevada River Forcast Center by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Los Angeles’ rainfall has been 6.83 inches from October 1, 2015 to April 27, 2016. The normal amount of rainfall for this time of year should be 14.22 inches. The normal amount of rainfall is an average from 1981 to 2010 recordings.

According to a study by NASA, California has a a 20 inch debt of rain. This debt of rain comes from the state’s 13 inch deficit between 2012 and 2014, and the 7 inch deficit from the 2014 to 2015 wet season. This debt is close to the average amount of rainfall the state usually receives in a year.

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California January 2013 compared to January 2014 Photo Courtesy: NASA

“Drought has happened here before. It will happen again, and some research groups have presented evidence it will happen more frequently as the planet warms,” head of the NASA study, Andrey Savtchenko said in a NASA press release, “But, even if the climate doesn’t change, are our demands for fresh water sustainable?”

Since the 1980’s, the state of California has grown in agriculture, population, and industry, thus creating a higher demand for water.

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Average Precipitation, September 2011 through September 2014 Photo Courtesy: California Department of Water Resources

El Niño

State Climatologist Michael Anderson said in a press release from the State of California, “California cannot count on potential El Niño conditions to halt or reverse drought conditions.  Historical weather data shows us that at best, there is a 50/50 chance of having a wetter winter. Unfortunately, due to shifting climate patterns, we cannot even be that sure.”

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Drought Conditions in December 2014 Photo Courtesy: Climate.gov

 

This quote shows that one cannot count on El Niño to end the drought.

El Niño is the third strongest in the past 65 years for the months of May and June, according to NASA.

According to NASA, “El Niño contributes only six percent to California’s precipitation variability and is one factor among other, more random effects that influence how much rainfall the state receives. While it’s more likely El Niño increases precipitation in California, it’s still possible it will have no, or even a drying, effect.”

How will we know the drought it over?

Even though 2016 has been the wettest year since the drought began in 2012, a few months of rain cannot make up for years of a drought.

The California Department of Water Resources stated, “Ending a drought means having enough precipitation and runoff throughout the state to mitigate the impacts we’ve experienced.”

It may take some time to reach this point.

2016 Drought Contingency Plan

The Drought Contingency Plan for this year will be placed in effect from February 2016 to November 2016, assuming the dry conditions will still persist in this time.

Forcasts for 2016 appear to be wetter than average conditions, but this plan is still being placed in effect if these conditions do not continue.

According to the Central Valley Project and State Water Project 2016 Drought Contingency Plan, “If 2016 precipitation results in another dry year, the State and Federal Agencies will need to make difficult decisions to balance reservoir storage to meet water supply needs, such as essential health and safety needs for urban water users, cold water and appropriate flows for fish, and adequate water quality in the Delta.”

The goals of this plan are to ensure human health and safety needs for fresh water, and to “Manage the intrusion of salt water into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) through operations of the CVP (Central Valley Project) and SWP (State Water Project)” according to The Drought Contingency Plan.

This plan is connecting with the December 15, 2015 State Water Board Order.

These plans focus on the changed requirements of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project to meet water quality in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta).

Current State

According to a press release by the California Water Boards, “Californians came just shy of meeting Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s 25 percent water conservation mandate for the nine months since mandatory urban conservation began.”

California has saved 23.9 percent of water from June 2015 to February 2016 compared to these same months in 2013.

“Twenty-four percent savings shows enormous effort and a recognition that everyone’s effort matters,Californians rose to the occasion, reducing irrigation, fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, and saving our precious water resources in all sorts of ways.” said State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus in the same California Water Boards press release.

There has been almost 1.19 million acre-feet of water conserved from June 2015 through February 2016. California has reached 96 percent of the savings goal of 1.24 million acre-feet of water, according to the California Water Boards.

The conservation rate statewide dropped from 17.1 percent in January to 12 percent in February. This could be because February 2016 was one of the driest and warmest Februaries since the drought started years before.

Typically people use less water in the winter because they are not using as much water for plants outdoors, so there is more water to conserve.

“We are in better shape than last year, but are still below average in most of California. We need to keep up our efforts to conserve the water we’ve gotten. We can better tune up and adjust our emergency rules once we see our final rain and snowpack tallies in the next few weeks,” said Chair Marcus in the press release.

The State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement has worked with water suppliers that have not met their conservation standards.

The board has issued: 98 warning letters,  118 notices of violation,  12 conservation orders,  Four Administrative Civil Liability Complaints and seven alternative compliance order, all since June 2015, according to the California Water Board report.

The state is anticipating conserving more water in the future to help deal with the issue of the drought. There was an extended emergency regulation that will be in effect until October 2016, and potentially revised then.

The state continues to conserve high amounts of water as they have since June 2015.

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California Water Conservation Photo Courtesy: California Water Boards

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Ben & Jerry founders arrested

The founders of Ben & Jerry ice cream, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, were arrested on Monday April 18, 2016. Cohen and Greenfield were among 300 others participating in the Democracy Awakening protests on the U.S. capital this weekend.

Cohen, Greenfield and the others were arrested for unlawful demonstration activities. Cohen and Greenfield were both processed on the scene and then released.

Democracy Awakening was created to protect voting rights, get big money out of politics, and to demand a fair hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. They want everyone’s voice to be heard.

On Tuesday, Cohen and Greenfield will be at the Bernie Sanders rally in their home state of Vermont. At this event, they will pass out free ice cream.

There is a limited edition Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor for Sanders called “Bernie’s Yearning.”

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Bernie’s Yearning Ice Cream Photo Courtesy: LA Times

Charges dropped for Trump’s campaign manager

Authorities have announced there is not enough evidence to convict Corey Lewandowski,, Donald Trump’s campaign manager for simple battery. Lewandowski, 42, was charged with simple battery after attacking a reporter at a Trump rally last month, according to NBC News.

The reporter, Michelle Fields, accused Lewandowski of grabbing her on March 8. when she was trying to ask Trump a question at a rally at Trump International Golf Club in Jupiter.

Lewandowski denied ever grabbing Fields, but Palm Beach prosecutors say otherwise.

Prosecutors do believe he grabbed Fields, but there was not enough evidence for a criminal prosecution.

Palm Beach County State Attorney David Aronberg and a deputy prosecutor, Adrienne Ellis, oversaw this case. Ellis said Lewandowski is not being charged because he was responding to a potential threat.

Check out the video of the incident below.

Video Courtesy: BNO News

Donald Trump visits Fountain Hills, Arizona

Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, gathered with supporters on Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Fountain Hills, Arizona at 10 a.m.  This campaign rally was held at the Fountain Hills Community Center near Phoenix.

Before Trump walked on stage, Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, former Arizona Governor, Janice K. Brewer and Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio all spoke on Trump’s behalf and introduced him.

Trump was welcomed to the stage with supporters chanting, “Trump! Trump! Trump!” Later on, they yelled, “USA! USA! USA!”

During this speech, Trump discussed the wall he is going to build, gun control, the new federal spending bill, China, and more.

Claim 1: “I am self funding my campaign. I am putting up my own money.”

According to The Center for Responsive Politics, Trump has funded more of his campaign than any of the other candidates, but it is not self funded. He recieves personal donations, and has a donate button on his website. By the end of 2015, Trump could take credit for providing his campaign with over half of its funds, but not all of the money came from Trump himself.

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Graph of Donald Trump’s campaign funding in 2015 Photo Courtesy: Politifact.com

Claim 2: “In Paris, they have the toughest gun laws in the world. No tougher gun laws anywhere in the world, and guess what? 130 people dead, and no bullets going in the oposite direction.” 

Paris does have strict gun laws, and these laws date back to April 18, 1939; they have been changed many times. There is no right to bear arms there, and in order to purchase a gun, you must have a current hunting licsense and a psychological evaluation on file. Accoring to Gun Policy, research from The Univeristy of Sydney, the maximum prison sentence for carrying an illegal gun in Paris is three years and a fine.

The estimated number of legal and illegal guns in France is 19 million.

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Tweet about Paris gun control Photo Courtesy: Donald Trump’s Twitter

Claim 3: “Ted Cruz, he wasn’t born in this country, folks. He shouldn’t even be in this country, and he shouldn’t be in this group that we are talking about.”

Ted Cruz was born in Canada, this is true, according to PolitiFact, but he can still most likely run for President. Rafael Edward Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1970. His family moved to the U.S. when he was four years old, and he has remained in the U.S. ever since. Cruz released his birth certificate in 2013, which states his mother was born in Delaware and his father was born in Cuba. Experts do not completely agree with each other about what it means to be a “natural born citizen.” Some believe Cruz can run because his mother was born here, but others do not agree.

According to Fact Check, the Naturalization Act of 1790 states, “the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.”

Claim 4: “We have $19 trillion in debt, and it’s going to $21 trillion.” 

This statement is both true and false. The total outstanding public debt is $19.2 trillion, but there is $5.3 trillion in Intragovernmental Holdings, or money the government owes itself. All special treasury securities are held by the Social Security Trust Fund. The U.S. is actually $13.9 in debt held to the public, according to the U.S. Treasury.

Claim 5: “The Omnibus funds Obamacare, it funds Syrians coming into the United States, we have no idea who they are, it funds illegal immigrants coming in and through your border, right through Phoenix.”

The Omnibus is a $1.1 trillion federal spending bill President Obama signed in December, and will be in effect until September 30, 2016.

According to PolitiFact, Trump’s statement is wrong. The omnibus does not pay for undocumented immigrants coming in through the border, but rather, pays for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to keep undocumented immigrants out. This spending bill also does not fund Syrian refugees specifically. It does fund refugees, in general, moving to the U.S.

Claim 6: “The head of Nabisco is leaving Chicago with their plant, they are headed to Mexico. No more Oreos for us.”

Trump brings up this company as an example of businesses leaving the U.S. Trump argues we need these businesses to stay and work with the U.S. instead of moving to Mexico or over seas.

This statement is true, Nabisco is moving to a new factory in Mexico. This will force 600 jobs to be moved from the city of Chicago. Nabisco will still make products in the U.S., but they are moving to a $130 million upgraded facility in Mexico.

Claim 7: “China has been rebuilt because of the money and the jobs we have lost and the money we have given them. We have rebuilt China and they know it.”

This statement is not completely true or false. According to the Congressional Research Service, China has experienced growth starting in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s because China became open to trade. After the death of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping became the leader of the Communist Party. In 1979, Xiaoping began open trade with the West as well as economic reforms. From 1979 to 2014, China had double-digit growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) every year, and the country’s economy was doubled every eight years.

China’s economy has grown because of reforms China has made, but also because of their involvement in global trade, which involves the U.S.

To watch Donald Trump’s full speech in Arizona, click here.

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Photo Courtesy: Donaldjtrump.com

Toddler spends birthday alone in drug-filled motel

A two-year-old boy was left alone for most of the night in a drug-filled motel room on Monday.

According to NBC News, Miami police tried to pull over a man on a stolen motorcycle at 4:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 29th. The man got off the motorcycle and fled on foot. The police are still unable to find him.

The man they are currently looking for is 26-year-old Osniel Machado. Machado is the boyfriend of the boy’s mother, 25-year-old Maidalys Oduardo-Paneque.

Police tracked Machado to The San Juan Motel in Little Havana, Florida, where a woman who works at the hotel was able to show police the room he lives in.

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Welcome sign to Little Havana, this is the city where the toddler was found. Photo Courtesy: Do Something Different

In the room they found Oduardo-Paneque and her son an arms length away from crack cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the police.

Oduardo-Paneque was arrested for child neglect and drug possession.

Machado is still on the run, but has been previously arrested for grand theft auto and other drug-related charges.

The child was spending his second birthday in the motel room, but now he is staying  with the Department of Children and Family Services until further notice.