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Environment & Science

California Drought News: Task force puts storms in context; almond prices on the rise; 'cash for grass' in Sacto



Farmers use bees to pollinate the state's valuable almond crop, now threatened by the drought.
Farmers use bees to pollinate the state's valuable almond crop, now threatened by the drought.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Water affects everything, as it turns out. Air pollution gets worse during drought; in California the problem is soot, and in Texas it was ozone. School athletic fields become dry and cracked, creating difficult choices between watering the grass and risking injury to kids. Homeowners associations come under fire for requiring residents to keep their lawns green. Scrutiny of water-intensive practices like fracking rise. Controversy over endangered species increases, and the federal government becomes a target of ire. The quality of water eventually becomes a concern, as reservoirs drop and salt and silt become more concentrated. Sewage water, strangely enough, emerges as a valuable and contested resource, and everyone starts dreaming about (costly) desalination.