(This post originally appeared on Forbes on 1/7/16)
It's raining hard here in Southern California for the second day in a row. After four years of drought it's a welcome change, but it's also causing problems. Again today my cell phone sounded an alarm for flash flooding, and the areas affected by previous fires are in real danger of mudslides. We are predicted to get a substantial amount of precipitation from one of the strongest El Nino events in a very long time. Still, the experts tell us that this one season will be unlikely to overcome our water woes.
For a very long time, California has been able to provide water for her cities and farms even though generally there is no rain for a long period between late spring and fall. The Mediterranean climate is not only enjoyable, it makes the growing of crops easier because they only get the water we want them to have during the growing season. Unfortunately, our municipal and agricultural systems have depended heavily on being able to store a great deal of water in the form of snow in the high Sierra mountains. When that snow-pack does not develop, we don't have the reservoir capacity to store enough to cover our needs through the dry season.
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