California governor: statewide water restrictions

Daily News Article - April 3, 2015


1. List 8 facts found in the first two paragraphs of this article.

2. List 3 additional requirements Gov. Brown includes in his executive action in addition to individual residents reducing their water usage.

3. a) What is a reservoir?
b) How far depleted are some of California’s reservoirs?

4. How does the Governor plan to enforce his edict?

5. What will the reduction in water use be measured against?

6. CBS News contributor and CUNY physicist Michio Kaku said:

"We have to understand why we are having this drought to begin with. There's an 800-pound gorilla in the living room. It is high pressure system sitting on California for four years, deflecting cold air from the Arctic and pushing it into New York City and the Northeast. We have excess snowfall in the Northeast in part because it should have fallen in California," Kaku said Thursday on "CBS This Morning." Some meteorologists would say this is part of a natural cycle, he said. "It comes and goes over a period of years, maybe decades," Kaku said. "But last month in Stanford University, some renegade meteorologist said, 'No, it's global warming.' The combination of hot air and dry air is very unusual, and they were saying it's man-made activity that's driving this. This is controversial."

Frank Gehrke, who has been surveying the snowpack for more than 30 years says he's never seen certain parts of the mountain without snow.

Mr. Kaku says, "It [extreme weather] comes and goes over a period of years, maybe decades.”

a)  What do you think? Is the drought in California evidence that global warming is caused by man’s use of fossil fuels? Are times of flood or extreme drought part of the natural cycle, or caused by the use of fossil fuels? Explain your answers.
b) Ask a parent the same questions.

NOTE TO STUDENTS: Many issues can be controversial. While you might not feel strongly about a certain topic, others around you might take a strong position on one side or the other. Learn to logically defend your position, and politely respect your neighbor’s point of view. And if your neighbor gets argumentative with you, remind each other that both sides need to be tolerant of the other’s point of view. The issue of manmade global warming is extremely controversial.

7. To fight the drought, the state will also spend more than a billion dollars to recycle waste water and fund desalination plants like the Carlsbad facility near San Diego. "Desalination sounds great. You essentially push water through a filter, and extract out the salt and, voila, you get fresh water," Mr. Kaku said. "However, it is very energy intensive because you have to use oil to create the machines to drive the water through a filter."
If the cost of desalination is affordable, do you think the coastal cities of California should use this method to obtain water? Why or why not?