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California Now Hoping For A Break From Heavy Rainfall by Tamara Qutmiera

200,000 Northern California residents lived and were evacuated for fear that the eroding wall that holds the water back from the Oroville Dam, will crumble and wash them away. The Oroville lake reservoir behind the Oroville dam is overflowing and threatening to blow. Reservoirs that were once at record lows are at capacity or overflowing.

“It’s crazy to think that after years of California struggling to make it through the drought, suddenly we have way too much water to handle. And what really irks me is how carelessly our government manages our water supplies. I think that if they took the time to figure out how to manage and distribute our water properly, we wouldn’t have struggled as much as we did when the drought hit.” said Junior Lynn Thomas.

Californians endured emergency mandatory water restrictions, since 2012, to ensure we don’t use what little water we have left. Now it seems we have too much water, and nowhere to put it. Which leaves Californians asking the question of whether or not the drought is over. The answer is yes and no.

Although this years rain has been the heaviest in decades and made a huge dent in the drought, it is not enough. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Northern half of the state is drought free, while much of the middle and southern portion is still in moderate to severe drought. Meaning that for now, the water restrictions will not be lifted.

It will take years for California’s overburdened groundwater reserves to recharge. Groundwater is unlike surface water, which can recover during a few days of heavy precipitation. Groundwater recovery often takes years or decades. Groundwater systems are also relied upon more heavily during times of drought. So, although our surface water problem has been taken care of, the recovery for groundwater, if possible, will take several to many years to accomplish.

“I honestly thought that the drought was over because of the excessive amount of rain we’ve had the past couple weeks, so I’m shocked to learn that we are still struggling to fill the groundwater reserves. So, I think it would be a good idea to keep the water restrictions up until then. Maybe we can be more lenient with the restrictions, but they should stay in place,” said Senior Evelyn Hurtado.

The amount of rainfall Northern Californians have endured as of late has been drastic and quite frankly, extremely hazardous. Residential roads, as well as highways, have flooded. Power outages, fallen trees, and many other life threatening situations have conspired, leaving Californians praying for the rain to stop. Roads have closed down causing hours worth of traffic, closed off highways including 101 and more.

“The commute to school the past couple days has been problematic. Coming from East side San Jose, the flooding had shut down he main highway I drive on to get to school, causing me to miss class,” said Senior Sneha Anisingaraju.

“Everything that California has endured because of our low water levels is truly devastating. Not only have we suffered from a drought here, but also our world as a whole is in distress. I hope what people learn from this is how downward our environment is going and how real global warming is. I’m praying for more understanding and change to happen regarding how we will go forward and to care for our planet in a more healthy and loving way. We only have one Earth, and we can’t jeopardize and neglect it,” said Senior Mya Grove.

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