December ’17: The West Is On Fire

The West Is On Fire

Just subtract water

The Central California Coast, who saw a hot/dry summer and fall (and never fully emerged from a 5-year drought) is home to the Thomas Fire, a 272,000 acre barnburner that’s now 60% contained in Ventura and Santa Barbara County and on course to become the states largest wildfire on record.

80 MPH winds aren’t doing any favors

The Santa Anas – winds that rush through California’s coastal mountains, foothills and canyons from deserts to the east and peak in December and January – have driven what’s known as pyrocumulonimbus clouds – essentially, fire-fueled thunderstorm clouds. The Santa Anas are expected to return this week.

The new normal
Firefighting isn’t exactly a holiday past-time, but California Governor Brown speculates it could be. In fact, a 2016 study found that Western fire season is now 105 days longer than in 1970 and 14 of California’s 20 largest wildfires on record have occurred since 2000. Fire officials do not anticipate full containment until Jan. 8.

“We don’t even call it fire season anymore,” said Cal Fire Captain Scott McLean, “it’s year-round.”

The Great Salt Lake in Utah has dropped 50% in volume since 1847 and another 30 square miles of exposure are at risk over the course of the next forty years. The primary culprit? Human consumption. Sigh. Alas, success stories out of Central Asia, Iran and the Eastern California Sierras are helping inform how to keep the GSL from drying up.

Data and tools for making sense of data is all the rage, but what’s significant is how data-adoption tools are starting to shape public policy, like it has with California AB 1755 Open and Transparent Water Data Act. Will Sarni from the Water Foundry gives us a year-in-review of how data has changed the course of water sustainability.

The most decorated Olympian of. all. time. spends his free time traveling the country and preaching the importance of water conservation in our daily lives. Yep you read that right – Michael Phelps is in conservation’s corner with a viral video you can use with customers to impress water conscious behavior. Talk about a patriot.

What’s happening at Dropcountr

It’s been a huge year – six new faces joined the Dropcountr Team (hello Ganesh, Ellisa, Suzanne, Ben, Dan and Tatsiana!); Spanish is now a language choice in HOME for Spanish-speaking utility customers; utilities in Colorado, Massachusetts and Florida are supporting their customers with Dropcountr and we’re rounding out the year with a totally rebuilt (and re-skinned) iOS and Android app – so we can build features your customers love faster, and more efficiently. Time flies.

Thanks for a great year, see you in 2018
Team Dropcountr

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