Saturday, August 1, 2015

Kemarau Dahsyat Di California

Selepas solat jumaat di Masjid Faiz Petra, Bandar Baru Gua Musang pada 31 Julai 2015, saya bertemu dengan seorang mualaf yang berasal daripada California, Amerika Syarikat, bernama Omar. Setelah saling memperkenalkan diri, saya bertanya berkenaan California. Dia bercerita, antaranya, seperti intipati berikut:
a. Negeri California kini sedang dilanda kemarau yang amat dahsyat, sehinggakan sungai dan tasik mula kering;
b, California yang merupakan salah satu kawasan tanaman makanan utama Amerika, yang juga  mengeksport, antaranya, limau, anggur, sayuran dll, kini makin ditinggalkan;
c. Penduduk negeri California sedang bersiap sedia untuk berpindah, dimana salah satu destinasi pilihan mereka adalah Washington State;
d. Kebakaran besar banyak berlaku, dan menyukarkan kerja mengawalnya kerana kekurangan air.

Berdasarkan cerita Omar, saya mencari beberapa berita berkaitannya. dan saya temui, antaranya, yang berikut:

Why one California city can't seem to conserve water
At a time when state water officials are urging residents to allow their lawns fade to gold or offering rebates to tear them out, El Monte's city-operated water utility has yet to reduce the number of days residents can water because of severe drought.
While three other water agencies that serve portions of the San Gabriel Valley city have limited lawn watering to just two days a week — shriveling grass and saving water in the process — El Monte's municipal water operation has been listed among the six worst-conserving suppliers in the state. Instead of achieving a state-mandated 8% water reduction, El Monte missed that target by 17 million gallons in June, or almost 23 percentage points, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. As a result, state water officials plan to contact the agency to discuss corrective actions. If problems persist, the city could face fines of $500 to $10,000 a day, officials say.
On Friday, however, City Manager Jesus Gomez defended El Monte's performance. He said its customers use less water per capita than surrounding communities, adding, "residents are conserving."
Nevertheless, neighborhoods that fall within the city's water district have noticeably greener lawns than those served by the privately owned water utilities of Golden State Water Co., San Gabriel Valley Water Co. and California American Water.
On Friday in the city of about 116,000 residents, children played on inflatable water slides and in plastic wading pools. An elderly woman watered her front yard in the scorching afternoon sun using a hose with no nozzle. She left the water running as she told reporters in Spanish that she hadn't heard of any water rules from the city.
From one street to the next, residents had different assumptions of how much water they could use. Some said they weren't supposed to water their lawn more than twice a week, others were unaware of any rules, and many said that the only things they knew about the drought were what they saw on TV news.
"I'm just trying to save my flowers," said Martha Centeno, who has lived in El Monte for 23 years. The city serves roughly 23,000 water customers, according to the state water board. In 2009, the first year of the drought, El Monte passed a stage 2 "emerging shortage" conservation plan, but has yet to upgrade to a stage 3 "moderate shortage" or stage 4 "high shortage" plan.
Under its stage 2 plan, residents are asked to refrain from hosing down sidewalks and driveways and may water their lawns only between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Gomez said the city is in the process of adopting a stage 4 drought plan, which would prohibit the washing of sidewalks and driveways and limit lawn watering to only two days a week, among other actions.
The City Council has twice failed to approve the proposal. Mayor Andre Quintero said the process has been "absolutely frustrating" and that he is perplexed as to why it hasn't passed.
The issue is scheduled to come before the council again Tuesday. It has been downgraded in urgency so that it requires only three votes out of five to pass but would take longer to go into effect. "It will take 30, maybe 60 days to implement," Quintero said.
Meanwhile, in neighborhoods served by other water agencies, residents have already been warned not to water more than twice a week, some since April.
Ralph Nunez, 63, a retired housing inspector for the city of El Monte, has lived in his home on Venita Street for 31 years. People in his neighborhood are very aware of the drought, he said, and he credits Golden State, their water supplier. Nunez is redoing his beloved 500-square-foot yard to be more drought-friendly. Golden State has also been helping him install more efficient indoor devices with their rebate program. "I figure if we don't conserve, they'd start penalizing us instead of finding a solution," he said. Toby Moore, water resources manager and chief hydrogeologist for Golden State, said the company serves 160 customers in El Monte, in addition to other Los Angeles County communities.
The company began restricting lawn watering in April, and it instituted a rationing program July 1. Most water providers in Southern California have moved to limit lawn watering to two or three days a week, as 50% to 60% of all summer water use is outdoor watering, Moore said.
"That's where you have the opportunity to cut back," Moore said. "When we went to the two days of watering, we saw a large reduction in use. We know it's effective."
While El Monte's city manager said he hopes eventually to limit lawn watering, he points out that city water customers already use less water than residents of neighboring communities.
In June, city water customers used an average of 64 gallons per person per day. By comparison, San Gabriel Valley Water Co. customers — residing in multiple cities — used 69 gallons and Golden State customers used 90. California American customers used 125 gallons per person per day, according to state data.
City water customer Scott Yu, 45, said he knows little about El Monte's rate of water consumption. The private consultant said he has yet to hear from the city about conserving water and vaguely recalls talk that water rates might go up.
But when he noticed some of his neighbors had cut back on watering, he said he followed suit. He cut down watering to 10 minutes a day from 20 and waters at night to avoid evaporation.
He said he thinks his neighborhood has been doing its part.
"Everyone is saving a little bit more here and there," he said. (1 Ogos 2015)

California's Drought Is So Bad That Thousands Are Living Without Running Water
"This is an ever-expanding, invisible disaster."
Vickie Yorba, 94, stands next to a water tank outside her home in East Porterville, California. Scott Smith/AP
Most of us are feeling the effects of the California drought from a distance, if at all: Our produce is a little more expensive, our news feeds are filled with images of cracked earth. But thousands of people in California's Central Valley are feeling the drought much more acutely, because water has literally ceased running from their taps. The drought in these communities resembles a never-ending natural disaster, says Andrew Lockman, manager of the county's Office of Emergency Services. Most disasters are "sudden onset, they run their course over hours or days, and then you clean up the mess. This thing has been growing for 18 months and it's not slowing down."
Here's what you need to know about California's most parched places:
What do you mean by "no running water"?
No water is coming through the pipes, so when residents turn on the tap or the shower, or try to flush the toilet or run the washing machine, water doesn't come out.
Who doesn't have running water?
While a handful of communities across the state are dealing with municipal water contamination and shortages, the area that's hardest hit—and routinely referred to as the "ground zero of the drought"—is Tulare County, a rural, agriculture-heavy region in the Central Valley that's roughly the size of Connecticut. As of this week, 5,433 people in the county don't have running water, according to Lockman. Most of those individuals live in East Porterville, a small farming community in the Sierra Foothills. East Porterville is one of the poorest communities in California: over a third of the population lives below the federal poverty line, and 56 percent of adults didn't make it through high school. About three quarters of residents are Latino, and about a third say they don't speak English "very well."

California Drought Could Wipe Cities Off Map If Their Water Runs Out
July 28, 2015 6:40 PM
TULARE COUNTY (CBS13) — The epicenter of California’s drought crisis is in the Central Valley, where there are growing fears the drought could wipe entire towns off of the map.
Wells are going dry, jobs are harder to come by and families are already moving, either to different states or even Mexico in search of work.
Before visiting Tulare County, a place where wells have gone dry and some people are living in third-world conditions, we went to a place deep in the Mojave Desert that offers a dire warning of what can happen when the water runs out.
Desolate and deserted, Dave Leimbach is one of the few left in Lockhart.
“We didn’t ask for this,” he said.
Once home to hundreds, it’s an all but abandoned and forgotten ghost town in the Mojave that barely a half-dozen people call home.
The sun set slowly on the old farming town when the nearby lake dried up.
“I’ve been out here since 1980,” he said. “And they’re all gone. All of them.”
Hundreds of miles away, communities similarly built on farming are struggling as water is scarce. Orchards have been ripped out, and farm jobs are few. Many worry new ghost towns could be on the horizon in Central California.
In these parts, Donna Johnson is affectionately known as the water lady. She’s delivering water to a needy family in East Porterville, a devastated town we’ve visited before. Dozens more wells have run dry since our last trip. Most of the Tulare County community south of Fresno still has no water. Inside, Juanna Garcia does dishes with bottled water. In the days before help arrived, she didn’t use soap. She gave the leftover dishwater to her kids. Living in poverty with no running water, she may have to leave.
Here we met Alex, a farm worker who drives nearly a day for the closest job to Washington state or even Toronto. Next month he plans to move away.
“No water, no nothing,” he said.
Drinking water and food lines are longer than ever at Iglesia Emmanuel.
“It’s dire, it’s dire here, it’s dire straits,” said Antonio Alvarez.
Fear in the air is as thick as the humidity on a sweltering summer day. The Porterville church hands out fruits and vegetables. Each time, the supplies seem to run out fasterDescription:
“We’re seeing a lot of new faces lately in the last few weeks, said Iglesia Emmanuel Church Pastor Roman Hernandez.
Nobody knows the area’s worsening struggles more than he does. He says families are packing up for Oregon, Illinois, and even Georgia to find farm work. One woman talked of going back to Mexico.
“She grew up in Mexico very poor: no running water, no shoes, no electricity, but she told me that she at least had plenty of water,” he said. “I haven’t seen her, so my suspicion is she went back to Mexico altogether.”
Water trucks fill up tanks in East Porterville front yards, but as the drought deepens, there are new reports of neighbors becoming hostile with the water haulers. They don’t want their dwindling well water to be taken elsewhere.
In one case, people reportedly parked their cars, trying to form a barricade to keep the truck from getting to that well. Another time it got so tense, the sheriff’s department was called out.
Raindrops fell on Porterville recently for the first time in months. Children were so excited they swam in the pastor’s church parking lot.
Any glimmer of hope is welcome in towns across Tulare County. Nearly 1,500 wells are tapped out and farms are scaling back.
UC Davis Professor Dan Sumner specializes in agricultural economics.
“It’s just tough, and people are having to leave communities they’ve grown up in,” he said.
He says while there are communities on the edge, the agriculture that supports them is strong enough to survive.
“The farms themselves, they’ve been built to deal with this drought and the next drought unless we do something really crazy,” he said.
But for those who live it every day, that fear is very real if the drought doesn’t end soon.
“They’re just gonna dry up just like the old days when there was a drought, towns would turn into a ghost town,” Alvarez said.
Out in the Mojave Desert, Leimbach saw it with his own eyes.
“No people, no alfalfa, no store; just me and my dad,” he said.
He can’t help but worry for the future of California’s farming heartland.
There is hope of drilling a new well to solve East Porterville’s water problems. Tulare County has a $1.6 million state grant and is asking the federal government for the remaining $400,000 balance to cover the cost of the new well.

California Imposes First Mandatory Water Restrictions to Deal With Drought
PHILLIPS, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered mandatory water use reductions for the first time in California’s history, saying the state’s four-year drought had reached near-crisis proportions after a winter of record-low snowfalls.
Mr. Brown, in an executive order, directed the State Water Resources Control Board to impose a 25 percent reduction on the state’s 400 local water supply agencies, which serve 90 percent of California residents, over the coming year. The agencies will be responsible for coming up with restrictions to cut back on water use and for monitoring compliance. State officials said the order would impose varying degrees of cutbacks on water use across the board — affecting homeowners, farms and other businesses, as well as the maintenance of cemeteries and golf courses.
While the specifics of how this will be accomplished are being left to the water agencies, it is certain that Californians across the state will have to cut back on watering gardens and lawns — which soak up a vast amount of the water this state uses every day — as well as washing cars and even taking showers.
California’s Extreme Drought, Explained
California is experiencing the worst drought in its history, and the effects are being felt nationwide.
By Carrie Halperin, Sean Patrick Farrell and Caitlin Prentke on Publish Date April 1, 2015. Photo by Monica Almeida/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »
“People should realize we are in a new era,” Mr. Brown said at a news conference here on Wednesday, standing on a patch of brown and green grass that would normally be thick with snow at this time of year. “The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day, those days are past.”
Owners of large farms, who obtain their water from sources outside the local water agencies, will not fall under the 25 percent guideline. State officials noted that many farms had already seen a cutback in their water allocations because of the drought. In addition, the owners of large farms will be required, under the governor’s executive order, to offer detailed reports to state regulators about water use, ideally as a way to highlight incidents of water diversion or waste.
Because of this system, state officials said, they did not expect the executive order to result — at least in the immediate future — in an increase in farm or food prices.
Weeds grow in what used to be the bottom of Lake McClure. Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
State officials said that they were prepared to enforce punitive measures, including fines, to ensure compliance, but that they were hopeful it would not be necessary to do so. That said, the state had trouble reaching the 20 percent reduction target that Mr. Brown set in January 2014 when he issued a voluntary reduction order as part of declaring a drought emergency. The state water board has the power to impose fines on local water suppliers that fail to meet the reduction targets set by the board over the coming weeks.
The governor announced what amounts to a dramatic new chapter in the state’s response to the drought while attending the annual April 1 measuring of the snowpack here in the Sierra Nevada. Snowpacks are critical to the state’s water system: They store water that falls during the wet season, and release it through the summer.
In a typical year, the measure in Phillips is around five or six feet, as Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey Program, indicated by displaying the measuring stick brought out annually. But on Wednesday, Mr. Brown was standing on an utterly dry field after he and Mr. Gehrke went through the motions of measuring a snowpack. State officials said they now expected the statewide snowpack measure to be about 6 percent of normal.
 “We are standing on dry grass, and we should be standing on five feet of snow,” Mr. Brown said. “We are in an historic drought.”
Water has long been a precious resource in California, the subject of battles pitting farmer against city-dweller and northern communities against southern ones; books and movies have been made about its scarcity and plunder. Water is central to the state’s identity and economy, and a symbol of how wealth and ingenuity have tamed nature: There are golf courses in the deserts of Palm Springs, lush gardens and lawns in Los Angeles, and vast expanses of irrigated fields of farmland throughout the Central Valley.
Given that backdrop, any effort to force reductions in water use could be politically contentious, as Mr. Brown himself acknowledged. “This will be somewhat of a burden — it’s going to be very difficult,” he said. “People will say, ‘What about the farmers?’ Farmers will say, ‘What about the people who water their lawns?’ ”
Within hours of Mr. Brown’s announcement, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who is the House majority leader, announced plans to renew efforts in Congress to pass legislation requiring the building of two huge water facilities in the state. The efforts had been blocked by Democrats concerned that the water projects would harm the environment and damage endangered species of fish.
“The current drought in California is devastating,” Mr. McCarthy said. “Today’s order from the governor should not only alarm Californians, but the entire nation should take notice that the most productive agriculture state in the country has entered uncharted territory.”
“I’m from the Central Valley, and we know that we cannot conserve or ration our way out of this drought,” he said.
The order also instructs water authorities to raise rates on heavy water users. Those pricing systems, intended to reward conservers and punish wasters, are used in some parts of this state and have proved effective, state officials said.
Felicia Marcus, the chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, said that California would leave it to local water providers to decide how to enforce the reductions on homeowners and businesses. She said she anticipated that most of the restrictions would be aimed at the outdoor use of water; many communities have already imposed water restrictions on lawns and gardens, but Ms. Marcus suggested they had not gone far enough.
“We are in a drought unlike one we’ve seen before, and we have to take actions that we haven’t taken before,” she said. “We are not getting the level of effort that the situation clearly warrants.”
Mark W. Cowin, the director of the California Department of Water Resources, said the state would tightly monitor compliance, in the hope that would be enough to accomplish the 25 percent reduction. If it is not, the order authorizes water suppliers to penalize offenders.
“We are looking for success, not to be punitive,” Mr. Cowin said. “In the end, if people and communities don’t comply, there will be repercussions, including fines.”

SEE IT: NASA images capture desperation of California’s drought 
California recorded its driest year on record in 2013. New images capture bone-dry conditions near Sacramento and along the Sierra Nevada mountains. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 11:50 AM
NASA satellite image showing impact of drought on California’s farms, forests and wild lands.
Stark new images capture the severity of the drought that has plagued California for the past year. Satellite photos from NASA and other agencies capture California's water-starved landscape from Sacramento along the Sierra Nevadas and into southern areas, as the Golden State emerges from its driest year on record.
Overall, just 6.97 inches of rain fell in California from Feb. 1, 2013 to Jan. 30, 2014, the fewest since the state began keeping records in 1885, according to NASA's Earth Observatory blog.

The lake last month, when it was at 17% capacity and 35% of its historical average. 
"In 2014, everything west of the forested mountains is brown. Even irrigated agriculture in the center of the state appears to be limited compared to 2013." On Tuesday, NASA said it would step in to assist the state's department of water resources to help better manage the state's water supply and develop new technologies to ease the dry spell. As part of the effort, the space agency's scientists said they would deploy satellites and other airborne tools to improve the state's ability to measure snowpack, groundwater levels and predict storms. "It sounds like a cliche, but if they could put a man on the moon, why can't we get better seasonal forecasting?" water department spokeswoman Jeanine Jones said. With News Wire Services

Sebagai orang Islam, apabila berlaku sesuatu (dalam perbincangan di atas adalah berkaitan yang buruk), maka kita perlu melihat daripada pelbagai perspektif: Adakah ia suatu bala, atau suatu peringatan, dan menguji sifat sabar dan ikhtiar kita?

Kita telah, akan dan sentiasa diingatkan dengan banyak perkara berkaitan musibah "kemarau", antaranya:

"Atau siapakah yang telah menciptakan langit dan bumi dan yang menurunkan air untukmu dari langit, lalu Kami tumbuhkan dengan air itu kebun-kebun yang berpemandangan indah, yang kamu sekali-kali tidak mampu menumbuhkan pohon-pohonnya? Apakah di samping Allah ada tuhan (yang lain)?" (Al-Qur’an Surah Al-Naml: 60)

…Tidaklah mereka mengurangi takaran dan timbangan kecuali akan ditimpa kebuluran, susahnya penghidupan dan kezaliman penguasa atas mereka. Tidaklah mereka menahan zakat (tidak membayarnya) kecuali hujan dari langit akan ditahan dari mereka (hujan tidak turun), dan sekiranya bukan karena hewan-hewan, niscaya manusia tidak akan diberi hujan….”(Hadis diriwayatkan oleh Ibnu Majah (2/1322) no. 4019, Abu Nu’aim, al-Hakim dan beberapa orang lagi).

"Maka aku katakan kepada mereka: "Mohonlah ampun kepada Tuhanmu, sesungguhnya Dia adalah Maha Pengampun, niscaya Dia akan mengirimkan hujan kepadamu dengan lebat, dan membanyakkan harta dan anak-anakmu, dan mengadakan untukmu kebun-kebun dan mengadakan (pula di dalamnya) untukmu sungai-sungai. Mengapa kamu tidak percaya akan kebesaran Allah?" (Al-Qur’an Surah: 10-13

”Jikalau sekiranya penduduk negeri-negeri beriman dan bertaqwa, pastilah Kami akan melimpahkan kepada mereka keberkatan dari langit dan bumi, tetapi mereka mendustakan (ayat-ayat Kami) itu, maka Kami siksa mereka disebabkan perbuatannya.” (Al-Qur’an Surah  Al-A’raaf: 96)

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