The fire season of 2021 threatens to surpass the devastation caused by last year’s uptick in drought and wildfires. Record-breaking heat waves and continued dry conditions, as well as less-than-average snowpack on the mountain ranges, have led to yet more destruction.
As the situation worsens, experts believe climate change to be a critical factor in the current situation. Technologies such as Rain on Request are being invented to create precipitation from the atmosphere, posing as a potential solution to the drought.
Is the Drought Situation Really That Bad?
Statistics show significant issues with drought across California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Southwestern Colorado. As much as 86% of California is in extreme drought with little to no rainfall in recent times, causing an unprecedented increase in wildfires. Pollution from smoke being carried downwind has resulted in hazy skies and bad air quality, sometimes thousands of miles from the point of origin.
According to a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 63% of Californians say water supply is a big problem in the region. One in four believes that water supply and drought is the state’s primary environmental issue.
The Impact of the California Drought
Los Angeles Times photographer Brian van der Brug used a drone to take photos of major lakes in California, revealing the harsh reality of how dry the Golden State has become. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California’s largest reservoir, Lake Shasta, was only 34% full with only 1.55 million acre-feet of water in mid-July 2021. Water levels are close to record lows and experts expect these records to be broken by the end of summer.
Scientists expressed concern that Lake Oroville could drop below 646 feet above sea level, as it did between 1976 and 1977 when the lowest levels ever were recorded. Should this happen, it would represent a “worst-case scenario” which may soon become a reality. In July, the California Department of Water Resources reported that the lake’s water levels were slightly over 658 feet above sea level, or 27% of its total capacity, which is dangerously close to the levels it dropped to in the 1970s.
Reservoir levels could plummet to such lows that the Oroville hydroelectric power plant would be forced offline for the first time since it opened in the 1960s.
June 2021 marked the worst year for rainfall in 144 years of recorded history. These conditions prompted Governor Gavi Newson to issue a draught regional state of emergency in 50 counties in California, constituting over 40% of the state’s citizens. He asked all residents to reduce their water consumption by 15%.
Escalating an Already Dire Situation: Wildfires
Since starting in July 2021, the monstrous Dixie Fire has billowed clouds of smoke, pushing air quality into unhealthy territory. Just one of many fires sweeping across the state, the Dixie Fire has been recorded as the 14th largest in Californian history. As of mid-August, an area larger than New York City has been destroyed, twice as large as the previous year.
These wildfires have impacted many areas, including agriculture, biodiversity, infrastructure, local businesses, and the economy. Fires are wiping out acres of crops, damaging soil, harming or killing livestock, and creating a high-risk environment for workers. Such Issues in the agricultural industry affect businesses across the supply chain in terms of food production.
The biodiversity of large areas is affected, as entire species perish in the fires or die out due to dried-up water sources and destroyed habitats.
Emergency services and fire departments are pushed to their limits as they fight back and save lives. The people on the frontlines are not only overworked, the extra hours are putting a fiscal strain on local governing bodies with tax dollars being used to combat the situation.
Rain on Request Has a Solution
One potential solution to the issue is Rain on Request, a framework of towers which produces an ion field and creates the polarity in the atmosphere conducive to rainfall. Consisting of a 100-foot primary tower and ten 40-foot satelite towers, the system can produce rain for a 15-mile radius with targeted precision.
The company has extensively tested the system in the Middle East and South America in similar conditions to the California environment, with great levels of success. According to the inventor of the system, Jacob Gitman, Rain on Request could help California be drought-free forever. Additionally the system is environmentally conscious and costs considerably less than the $7.5 billion allocated to tackling the water issue in California.
Potential Drought Solutions
Cloud seeding is the method of creating rain by shooting silver iodide, potassium iodide, or other chemicals into clouds. In 1915 Charles Hatfield was hired to seed clouds near Lake Marina with initial success. However, after 17 days of continuous heavy rainfall the end result was $3.5 million in flood damage.
Of course modern day technologies have improved this method, but unfortunately silver iodide is toxic to aquatic life and introducing unnatural chemicals into rain could alter the microclimate and negatively affect crop growth. Another issue with cloud seeding is the necessity for clouds to be present in the sky to begin with.
Building a Water Pipeline to California
Hollywood actor, William Shatner, launched a campaign six years ago to raise $30 billion to lay a water pipeline from Washington State to California. While the idea and the sentiment are commendable, the costly project would only work if the place of origin had enough rainfall to share.
Desalination of Seawater
Desalination is the process of reducing or removing the dissolved salt content of saline water to a usable level. It is an energy-intensive, fossil-fuel dependent process that would increase greenhouse gasses and negatively affect the environment. Sadly, air pollution is not desalination’s only potential threat to the environment. The process also creates brine as a waste product which causes a potential threat to marine life.
Current Proposed Solutions
As of August 2021, the only potential solutions implemented include, requesting citizens to volunteer to reduce their water consumption, drilling deeper into the earth to access water underneath the surface, and transporting water from external sources. These methods are difficult to guarantee in terms of resident cooperation and are also less affordable in the long term
Is Rain on Request the Answer?
A more natural solution, the Rain on Request system has less impact on the environment. With a projected increase in rainfall of 50%-100% produced by the system, 50 stations strategically placed throughout California could resolve the drought problem across the entire state
In fact, Rain on Request remains the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly option, with the potential to combat future droughts across the entire United States.
Hi, i’m Jacob Gitman, one of the founders of Rain on Request, If you have a question or would like to share an idea about our work please visit out website: http://rainonrequest.com/about-us/