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Drought’s over? More like a temporary reprieve from California’s dry climate

Drought’s over? More like a temporary reprieve from California’s dry climate
A plow clears a road near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., in the eastern Sierra Nevada on Feb. 6 after a storm dumped about 10 feet of snow. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The drought’s over, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Really?

We have a temporary reprieve at best. Our rivers, lakes and reservoirs are in great shape thanks to all the recent rain, but surface water isn’t the only thing we depend on. Over the last decade we have relied more heavily on our groundwater, which accumulates naturally beneath the soil in deposits known as aquifers.

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Some of these aquifers are deep, while others are shallow. Unfortunately, as our population has grown, we have become more and more dependent on these aquifers, to the point that many have been virtually depleted.

Claiming the drought is over after three or four months of rain, no matter how intense, is insane. We have a temporary reprieve at best, nothing more.

Joanna Clark, San Juan Capistrano

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To the editor: The print edition headline, “State is free of drought, for now,” should have had the “for now” in bold-face capitals.

As a group, Californians never seem able to appreciate that a rainy season like this one is no more than a temporary reprieve. Instead of thinking ahead to the next drought and devising creative ways to harvest and store storm water before it reaches the Pacific, they declare in effect that good times are here to stay.

It’s like a smoker who celebrates a negative chest X-ray by lighting up. Bland comments like that of climate scientist Jessica Blunden (“It is good to be cautious and always think about conserving water”) utterly fail to convey the urgency of the situation.

The drought will be back — depend on it. The only question is, will we have taken any steps to mitigate its effects by the time it returns?

Anthony Dangerfield, Medford, Mass.

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To the editor: This is not the time to return to profligate uses of perhaps our most precious resource. Lawns that work well in the south of England are just not suited to semi-arid climes.

Even though we can relax a bit and run the public fountain, conservation must still be the watchword.

John Johnson, Carlsbad

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