It’s year five of the California drought. A few remote communities have already run out of water. The governor announced aggressive water restrictions. But what will happen to the state if the drought doesn’t end?
The possibility of a megadrought—lasting two decades or longer—is actually fairly likely in California. The last 150 years have been unusually wet, and at a few earlier points in history, the state had droughts lasting more than a century. NASA predicts that a decades-long drought will be even more likely to happen this century due to climate change.
Still, that doesn’t mean that Angelenos and San Franciscans will have to pack up and move. Surprisingly, when researchers at the University of California-Davis mad a computer model of a 72-year drought, they found that the state would emerge battered but with an economy almost as strong as before.
But to survive, the state will have to get a lot smarter