As California enters its fourth year of drought, there’s still no relief in sight. According to NASA, the state has just one year of water left, and in a last ditch effort cities are drilling wells to tap water that rained 20,000 years ago. Desperate times call for desperate measures – and California Governor Jerry Brown has come up with a bold solution inspired by a recent conference on climate change that he attended in freezing, snow-covered Boston: ship the East’s over-abundance of snow westward to quench the parched Golden State.
While the West Coast suffers its worst drought in recorded history, the East has been pummeled by rain, sleet, and snow straight into springtime. The climate extremes suit neither region, so California Governor Jerry Brown has proposed a bicoastal initiative to restore balance: Eastern snow will be trucked and airlifted to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to restores the state’s snow pack.
Governor Brown overheard San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who was also attending the conference, say to another California colleague: “This is so unfair! They have so much snow here, and we have none in the Sierras. I wish we could just take some of it back to CA with us.” And that was the seed of this bold vision, which really just makes perfect sense.
Governor Brown has earmarked a portion of California’s one billion dollar drought relief package to fund the venture, and local ski resorts are pitching in with hopes that the influx of snow will extend a paltry season. According to the Los Angeles Times, annual snow pack supplies 30% of California’s water requirements, so the East’s contribution could go a great way towards sustaining California’s water supplies in years to come.
Even Nestlé has contributed its shipping infrastructure to the project, with the goal of capturing excess melted snow that can’t be shipped, bottling it, and redistributing it back to stores on the East Coast, where it will sell for $2 a bottle under the brand name “Snö.”
+ California Department of Water Resources
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