California’s historic drought changes drinking water taste; officials tell residents to add lemon or refrigerate


Climate change is real how much ever some try to deny it. The latest manifestation of it is now seen across California as lakes, streams and reservoirs are drying up. Although this happens late summer, this year it is happening sooner as the water tastes earthy due an increase in the concentration of geosmin, an organic compound that gives soil its unique smell.


Residents have been complaining about the water taste. So, Sacramento officials released a statement which said that although it may not “taste great” the water was still “safe to drink.”


City utilities spokesperson Carlos Eliason told CNN that the earthy taste that some customers were experiencing was harmless. He also added that the earthiness could be neutralized by adding lemon to the water. Another solution provided by him was to keep the water in a refrigerator.


As the geosmin level has already risen, there is a possibility that it could become higher as rivers, lakes and reservoirs will continue to dry up as summer advances. Already water shortfalls are seen in Lake Oroville, Folsom Lake, Klamath River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


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Geosmin and other similar compounds could be eliminated from water as Sacramento’s water treatment plants improve and expand. Eliason also said that they were checking out different water treatment technologies so that they could adapt to some of the dry and drought conditions which may continue for years on end. He also said that they were investing in groundwater infrastructure instead of being totally reliant on rivers.


The State Water Resources Control Board has also sent a notice to thousands of water rights holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin region asking them to preserve water. It asks agriculturists, municipal bodies, recreation facilities and environmental protection sectors to ensure that water remains for supply not only for the current year but also for the following year.

Scientists and researchers say that as global warming increases California will face drier conditions as well as unprecedented losses of water due to runoffs. Therefore, it is essential that the state, city, and residents play a role in water conservation efforts.

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