The Science of Sustainability

Reporter's Notes: Is The Drought Over?

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By using water as a commodity, we are using up the fresh water the planet provides faster than it can replenish it.

Reporting this piece introduced me to a subculture I hadn't paid much attention to before: Water nerds.

It turns out I sit right next to a couple of them, right here at KQED. One is named Dan Brekke. He's an editor here. Dan spouts off reservoir levels the way other people recite batting averages.

Monthly snowpack surveys are awaited with baited breath. Curious about the state's current hydrological conditions? Dan can probably tell you.

Speaking of snowpack surveys, don't miss Craig Miller's Climate Watch video about how the surveys are conducted and what they mean. (See, I told you this place was crawling with water nerds.)

Anyway, it seemed unfair that I, an amateur water nerd, should be allowed to actually meet weather celebrities like Jan Null, a meteorologist for the Golden Gate Weather Service (and a favorite source of KQED reporters). My trip out to Folsom Dam made me the envy of the newsroom. But Dan didn't hold it against me. In fact, he agreed to share his interactive map with me, which he has promised to update daily with reservoir levels. (For a larger view, click here.)

He must be looking for converts.

View KQED: California Reservoir Watch in a larger map

Listen to Is The Drought Over? radio report online.

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Category: Climate, Environment, Radio, Water

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About the Author ()

As a radio reporter for KQED Science, Amy's grappled with archaic maps, brain fitness exercises, albino redwood trees, and jet-lagged lab rats, as well as modeled a wide variety of hard hats and construction vests. Long before all that, she learned to cut actual tape interning for a Latin American news show at WBAI in New York, then took her first radio job as a producer for Pulse of the Planet. Since then, Amy has been an editor at, the editor of Terrain Magazine, and has produced stories for NPR, Living on Earth, Philosophy Talk, and Pop Up Magazine. She's also a founding editor of Meatpaper Magazine.