Now that rain has made its way back into California, recent wildfires will impact how that water affects the state's water supply.
"About half of the water supply in the southwestern United States is supplied by water from forests," – USGS
A wildfire raises the threat of flooding and erosion. This can cause water quality issues immediately or even years later.
Silt, Carbon, and Debris
Storm runoff can see increased sediment of ash, carbon, and even large debris. This increased erosion can lead to poor water quality and decreased supply.
Many different factors play into how much the wildfire affects the water supply. These include, but are not limited to, intensity of the wildfire, precipitation rate and amount, geography of the region, and ecology of the area.
What it Means for You
While it might seem that the impacts stay far from home, wildfire runoff can affect the water supply that includes your drinking water or the water farmers use to water crops.
Impacts can include:
- Smaller amount of water in reservoirs
- Sediment prompting need for maintenance
- Higher amounts of microscopic debris in water
- Cloudiness in water
- Changes in how treatment plants use chemicals to treat the water
This means you will probably see prices of water increasing as officials work harder to make sure there is enough and that it is safe.
Not the Fishes
All that stuff in the water can be detrimental to wildlife.
All those contaminants can kill fish, frogs and other animals that depend on the water.
Even worse, wildfires in urban areas can put some seriously bad chemicals in the water.
Article Credit: United States Geological Survey– California Water Science Center