It’s a time of extremes for water in the West.
Already experiencing historic drought, California has started its winter season with heavy rains. Between the rainfall and melting snowpack, which was 184% above historic averages as of the second week of January, extreme flooding has led to evacuations in parts of the state. In addition to the heavy rains and snowpack melt, this flooding is being fueled by a statewide eco-unfriendly infrastructure that is not built to absorb rainfall easily.
“We’re now seeing that half of all precipitation that arrives in California and in the Western states comes from these extreme, big flooding events,” said Environment California Director Laura Deehan on Scripps News. Green infrastructure is one way to help take advantage of this rain. “We could be capturing it, using it for growing vegetables, growing life here in our communities.”
Environment California is advocating for green infrastructure, such as “living roofs” and the use of more absorbent urban surfaces, to build resilience to floods like these in the future.