I went home over the weekend and I was able to go on my routined morning run by the California Aqueduct near my house. When I looked over to the aqueduct it reminded me of the Roman’s Pax Romana. The Pax Romana was the period where the Romans had peace. yes there were still conflicts outside of the Roman territory but it was a good time to be a Roman. Among peace there were many other creations from the Romans like the roads, public bathrooms, places of socializing and of course the Aqueducts.
As the drought becomes a bigger problem, we can thank the Romans for creating a system to transport water from one area to another. The urban infrastructure
of the aqueduct made the Romans stand out in their architecture and public health. The enormous arches and slight incline were to redistribute the weight of the water and create a downward flow. The engineering behind the aqueducts was a big challenge because it had to be precise due to the incline it needed to be safe, they created a reservoir so the water could flow through and it will not dry out in the times of need.
The drought has affected Southern California with wildfires the most in the past months. The wildfires in Southern California made an increase in the demand for water and the water supply has been decreasing. From the beginning of 2016, a total of 6,645 wildfires have burned over 600,000 acres across the state. Over the last four weeks, the fires have spread by 87,000 acres. Several water bills, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, will allow a path for California to follow and address the future droughts and scarcity concerns.
I live in Lancaster, California, located in the Antelope Valley, where its surroundings are large lands of Joshua trees and tumbleweeds. Climate change has become a bigger concern as the precipitation levels have decreased below average in Southern California. As to many others in my city, I am concerned of the scarcity of water, because of the dry heat it can start a brush fire in an instant.
I recall the pine fire on June 30th, 2016 in Fraizer Park it started out burning seven acres and in ten hours it increased to one-hundred acres. The fire was contained until July 12, almost a week in a half, burning 2,304 acres. The resource of water we have has to be preserved for emergencies when brush fires are happening so often and devastatingly. The aqueducts pass through Lancaster and Palmdale also creating a path down to the reservoir named Lake Palmdale. It is an artificial lake created under the California Water Project back in 1924 water supplied through the aqueduct system. As weeks go by, the lake has slowly been decreasing in the amount of water which implies that the aqueduct is losing its water as well. Although Lake Elizabeth has dried out to a point where it is a puddle, Lake Palmdale has yet to see what will happen if the water stops flowing down to the lake. To preserve the water many houses have changed out their landscaping to rocks and succulents. There continues to be no change in drought conditions over the past two weeks. Severe-to-exceptional drought extends across 43% of the state, while moderate-to-severe drought extends across an additional 41% of the state. Water levels in California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) have fallen by three percentage points to 43% of the statewide capacity over the past two weeks.
Are we relying solely on the water reservoirs and the aqueducts? What would we be using to transport water if the Romans did not come up with the system?
What do you think is the next step to controlling California’s drought?