California's 21st Century Drought

California's 21st Century Drought

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Updated Oct 21, 2015 at 07:52PM EDT by Brad.

Added Oct 20, 2015 at 12:37PM EDT by Ari Spool.

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California's 21st Century Drought is a climate event occurring primarily from 2011 through 2015, where California and other areas on the West Coast of North America have experienced record water shortages. The drought has led to online discussions about climate change, wealth inequality, and other possible factors.


California is naturally a desert environment, and the drought is thought to be primarily caused by natural variations in moisture in rainfall, aggravated by human-induced global warming.[1] In February of 2014, the California drought began to result in extreme water shortages, causing many municipalities to enact ordinances barring residents from recreational or unnecessary water use, like that needed to water lawns or fill swimming pools.

A lack of snowfall in the winter of 2013-2014 caused President Obama to declare California to be in a federal state of emergency, which is still in effect as of October 2015.[3][4] In January 2015, Governor Edmund (Jerry) Brown declared a statewide state of emergency that has continued throughout the year.[2] As of October 2015, the drought shows no signs of ending; on October 16th, 2015, the California Department of Housing and Community Development created an $11 million fund for families in California who have little or no access to public drinking water.[5] However, as the fall of 2015 progressed, locals began worrying about possibly flooding and other extreme weather as the climate pattern El Niño went into effect.[6]

NASA has proclaimed the extended drought the "driest time in California in recorded history."[7]

Drought Shaming

Drought Shaming, also known by its hashtag #Droughtshaming, is the act of publicly denouncing someone for not conserving water properly during a drought, most often by Tweeting or Instagramming a photo combined with the hashtag. The practice became popular during the California drought, which officially began in 2011 and continued through July 2015.

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