The railroad trestle over Gaviota Creek. (Photo: Robert Ashworth, via Wikipedia)
Approximately 75% of California’s population lives along the state’s 1,271 miles of coastline. By some estimates, half a foot of that coast will be lost by 2030, and as much as seven feet of coast by 2100. Along with rising sea levels, increasingly strong king tides, flooding, and El Niño events will affect low-lying areas with greater power and frequency.
A parched lake bed at Lake Oroville, about 60 miles north of Sacramento. (Photo: sddatta, via Shutterstock)
As drought-parched California withers, salt water captures attention – again. Santa Barbara, which built a desalination plan more than 20 years ago and then abruptly shut it down because of costs, is considering upgrading and restarting the project and provide the city of 91,000 with about a fourth of its drinking water. The tentative price tag is $40 million. In Sacramento, the State Water Resources Control Board is poised to adopt new regulations in May governing desalination.