Article 1 Summary: California snowpack lowest in past 500 years The scientific study highlighting a significant drop in snow pack mainly concluded that the significant reduction in spring mountain snowpack which supply’s California with fresh water indicates a low unmatched for the first time in 500 years; and also an extreme event. The scientists used temperature (annual Western US temperature estimates provided in the study by Wahl and others) and precipitation (using tree ring data from a previous study by Stahle and others in order to reconstruct historical snowfall data) reconstructions in estimating water amounts in historical spring snowpack (Cesare, 2016).

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Article 2 Summary: Sierra Nevada Snow Won’t End California’s Thirst
The main points made in Fountain’s 2016 article on Sierra Nevada Snow and California’s water woes is that the 87 percent peak in snowfall will not end California’s water woes which faces drought. The fast-melting snow is further affected by trees as flakes caught in tree branches turn directly into vapour, the trunk absorbs sunlight and re-emits it as heat which further melts snow around it, suck water from the ground and lost through transpiration, photosynthesis and evaporation. Further, the restrictions in allowing forest fires to burn unabated increases tree growth which reduces snow.

Article 3 Summary: Enhancing San Diego’s Water Supply Reliability
The article by the San Diego County Water Authority generally depicts diversification strategies in water supply for the San Diego Region through development of local water resources like groundwater, seawater desalination, recycled water and conservation. This should cut reliance on Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, sole supplier of imported water, to 21 percent by 2020 and 13 percent by 2035, aided by supplies established under the 45- to 75-year water conservation-and-transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District. A $2.8 billion Capital Improvement Program for improving regional water delivery and storage capacity through infrastructure improvement is underway including ‘raising San Vicente Dam in East County by 117 feet to provide 152,100 acre-feet of additional local storage’ (San Diego County Water Authority, 2016a).

Article 4 Summary: Carlsbad Desalination Project
The article reports on the Carlsbad Desalination Project which produces approximately 50 million gallons a day (satisfying 10 percent water demand), and which is part of a billion dollar project for a sophisticated seawater desalination plant and pipeline. The project was integrated into the Water Authority’s master plan after which a 40-public-meeting-negotiation water purchase agreement with Poseidon Water, meant to share risks with Poseidon and keep costs low for payers, came to fruition. The report indicates that the 2017 set water prices are between $2,125 and $2,368 per acre-foot; with the first 48,000 acre-feet of water bought paying for the project’s fixed costs and a $5 per household price forecast, complemented by adherence to rigorous environmental standards (San Diego County Water Authority, 2016b).

  • Cesare, C. (14 September 2015). California snowpack lowest in past 500 years: Tree rings help to put the state’s historic drought in context. Nature. Retrieved from
  • Fountain, H. (April 16, 2016). Sierra Nevada Snow Won’t end California’s Thirst. The New York Times. Retrieved from
  • San Diego County Water Authority. (2016a). Enhancing San Diego’s Water Supply Reliability. Retrieved from
  • San Diego County Water Authority. (2016b). Seawater Desalination: The Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant and Related Facilities. Retrieved from