Flooding During a Drought: Rethinking California’s Water System

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A full water reservoir in Lake Clementine, Northern California. (66North via Getty Images)

As another atmospheric river batters California, the state finds itself in the midst of weather whiplash: Parts of the state are flooding even while California remains in a drought emergency. As of early Monday, despite historic amounts of rain, most of the state’s reservoirs had not reached capacity and experts say this current system of rainstorms does not guarantee an end to the drought. In 2022, the year began with a similar set of storms to be followed by an unusually warm and dry winter that melted off the snowpack early. We’ll talk about the impact the storms are having on our aging water system and what we can learn about how to avoid flooding and capture more water from extreme weather events like this as they become more frequent with climate change.


Erica Gies, independent journalist; author, "Water Always Wins;" National Geographic explorer" - Gies wrote the recent New York Times essay "California Could Capture Its Destructive Floodwaters to Fight Drought"

Karla Nemeth, director, California Department of Water Resources

Jay Lund, vice-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California, Davis - Lund is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering.