Rocky Drought & Short Supply

by | Jul 9, 2021

Photo: Andrew Innerarity / California Department of Water Resources

What do rock walls across Delta water channels, brown lawns, bans on hoses, and red flag fire warnings have in common? California’s deepening drought. Up in the Delta, the state is once again piling up rocks in False River to prevent salty ocean tides from intruding too far inland, and too close to intakes for the state’s water supply pumps (there’s no enough pushback from snowmelt and river outflow this year to keep things fresh!) Meanwhile, many water districts around the Bay Area have already called on their customers to reduce their water use by 10-25%, with Marin going first in April. Among drought, heat and water-shortage combat actions, EBMUD is purchasing back-up generators to ensure water delivery during public safety power shut offs; Sonoma is scrutinizing new opportunities for groundwater recharge; and cities are reconsidering residential grey water systems. A new drought resource guide compiled by the Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network rounds up the best reports, portals, and local project examples in one document – helping cities and counties think about new ways to adapt to drier, hotter, more fiery conditions. The Los Angeles Times argues that this is not a drought, but rather our new climate, stating “the years of steady and predictable water flow are over, and there is no sign of them coming back in our lifetimes. This is it. We have to build, and grow, and legislate, and consume for the world as it is, not as we may remember it.”

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About The Author

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

is KneeDeep’s managing editor. She is a Bay Area environmental writer, former editor of Estuary News magazine, and a co-author of a Natural History of San Francisco Bay (UC Press 2011). For the last decade, she’s been reporting on innovations in climate adaptation on the bayshore. She is also an occasional essayist for the San Francisco Chronicle. In other lives, she has been a vintner, soccer mom, and waitress. She lives in San Francisco. See her work at