Humboldt County dodges drought

By Oliver Cory
Flapjack Chronicle

Humboldt County has found itself in a unique situation in that it is one of the few places in the state of California that does not have to be worried about the water supply affecting its daily lives. Ruth Lake, a source of water for the residents of Humboldt County, has a sufficient supply of water. Many other places in the state, however, rely on getting their water from the Sierra. This means that Humboldt County is not in the same situation as the rest of the state because of it doesn’t share a common water supply.

John Friedenbach, the business Manager of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, said that compared to the rest of the state, Humboldt County doesn’t have to worry about the drought. Friedenbach said that Humboldt State University students probably will not have a large impact on the drought, but they could help if they all worked collectively. When asked about whether the recent rain will have any affect on the water crisis, Freidenbach said that it will have a very minor impact.

“It’s better than not having any rain,” Friedenbach said.  “We have about a one-year supply.”

This isn’t the first time that California has faced a drought. In 1976-1977, the reservoir at Ruth Lake was at 35 percent full at this time of year. Currently, the reservoir in Ruth Lake is 55 percent full. Usually in the end of January, in past years, the reservoir has been 90 percent full.

Humboldt County is in better shape than it was back during that drought because the county no longer has to send a great deal of water to two pulp mills as they did back in the ’70s. Still, Governor Jerry Brown has asked that all California residents reduce their water use by 20 percent.

The northern third of California  is responsible for 75 percent of the supply the water in the state. The Southern two-thirds of the the state is responsible for 80 percent of the demand.

Although Humboldt County does not need to be worried about the drought affecting its access to drinking water, students at Humboldt State University seemed to be concerned with how the drought would affect the local surroundings.

Royce Garner is a sophomore wildlife major. Although he was unaware of the California drought, he was concerned with how the drought would affect the environment.

“I know we probably won’t get as much rain,” Garner said, “which will probably make it a lot colder and more desert-looking.”

Another student was concerned with how the drought may affect how some students complete their studies. Jonathan Lockwood, senior, is a botany major.

“A lot of students that come here are either forestry wildlife or botany [majors],” Lockwood said. “We use the community forest and local surroundings as our school research.” Lockwood also said that if the drought gets too bad it may have a negative impact on how they study.

If you have any questions regarding Humboldt County’s water supply visit:


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