As California Dries Up, Locals Hope for El Niño

22:14 minutes

Low water levels at California's Folsom Lake on January 19, 2014. Photo by Stuart Rankin/flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0
Low water levels at California’s Folsom Lake on January 19, 2014. Photo by Stuart Rankin/flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

A third of California is now clenched by exceptional drought—the most severe category listed by the United States Drought Monitor. Radio ads and highway signs warn residents to conserve water, and this week the state announced $500 fines for water-wasters. But many residents continue to hope for the rain promised by a strong El Niño, says Molly Peterson, environment correspondent for Southern California Public Radio. Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Indiana University’s Shahzeen Attari join her to talk about what states and residents can do to weather the drought in the meantime.

Segment Guests

Molly Peterson

Molly Peterson is a science and environmental reporter at KQED in Los Angeles, California.

Jay Famiglietti

Jay Famiglietti is a professor in earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, and senior water wcientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Shahzeen Attari

Shazeen Attari is an assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

Jim Pardee

Jim Pardee is co-owner of JD Farms in Bonsall, California.

Meet the Producers and Host

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata was Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.

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