The low American River shows signs of the drought that has put California at 24 percent of the average precipitation. (Photo by Cissy Shi)

Continued lack of rain creates problems for student athletes

The missing rains of the wet season seemed to have made a return over the last several weeks, as rain and snow pelted the Northern California region. In response, some students say they’ve stopped water-rationing measures.

Junior Johnson Ma is one of them. “I think the drought is more hype than anything,” Ma said. “Folsom Lake is low, but at the end of the day, there will be water. People are just overreacting.”

Ma said that several weeks ago he was turning off the faucet when he brushed his teeth and shaved, but the recent rains gave him confidence that the wet season will return.

Despite Ma’s confidence, CBS 13 recently reported that California as a whole is approximately at 24 percent of average precipitation, even after the recent storms. This places the Sacramento area under high-intensity drought (and the South Bay area and Central Valley portions of the state under the highest level of drought).

Junior Michael Wong’s recent water-conservation efforts have been more in line with CBS 13’s findings than Ma’s.

“In my house we continue to save water because you have to be prepared just in case the drought doesn’t get better,” he said. “It’s good to get used to water-saving measures now rather than later.”

Wong washes his dishes in large bins instead of leaving the tap on, no longer takes baths and turns off the water when he brushes his teeth.

Despite the recent rains, the record-breaking drought of 2013-14 is still curtailing outdoor activities in California. Many students have had to alter their plans in response to the lack of rain this winter.

Freshman Zane Jakobs’s family cut their Lake Tahoe trip during Winter Break six days short.

“When I went skiing at Squaw Valley, there was so little snow that we had to repair my skis every single day,” Jakobs said. “We had to put wax on the skis constantly to keep them gliding.

“I also fell and hit my face on rocks that weren’t covered by snow, but typically are by that time in the season.”

Jakobs and his family ended up leaving early because of the low snow quality.

“When it gets to that slush or ice stage, it’s really hard to do much of anything on the slopes,” Jakobs said.

Freshman Quinton LaComb had a bad duck-hunting season this year due to the drought.

“Ducks tend to fly more during rain and fog, and obviously both of those didn’t happen very much this year,” he said.

“We also couldn’t flood the rice paddies that surround my grandfather’s estate where I hunt. The rice paddies are the main draw for the ducks, so not having them flooded made the season hard.

“The whole season from October to January was a loss.”

In fact, even though LaComb and his father went hunting multiple times, they didn’t shoot a single duck.

The drought is having mixed effects on rowing according to sophomore Sydney Michel.

“It has been nice so far not having to row in the rain much this year,” Michel said.

Michel rows on Lake Natoma, which has not been affected as much as Folsom Lake because Lake Natoma is still receiving inflows from Folsom Lake upstream. According to KCRA 3, Folsom Lake is at 30 percent of capacity.

An activity that is surprisingly unaffected by the drought is water skiing.

Freshman Ryan Canepa, a water skier, has not changed his activities due to the drought.

“We have been filling Shortline Lake (a manmade lake in Elk Grove designed for water skiing) with well water, so we are completely self-sufficient,” Canepa said.

“We don’t have to rely on any public water, and since our wells still have plenty, it’s business as usual.”

Some impacts of the drought on student activities have been positive.

“The drought will actually make fly fishing better,” said sophomore Jacob Sands. Sands is an avid fly fisherman, who often travels to the Truckee area to fish.

“Because there is so little water in the rivers and streams, we can venture out further,” he said. “Also, the volume of water has shrunk, but the amount of fish hasn’t. We should be able to catch more fish.”

However, the Sacramento Bee (March 10) claims that the drought will eventually adversely impact the fishing season by decreasing the amount of water and increasing the temperature of the water.

Meanwhile in Ma’s bathroom, the faucet is still running.


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