LA Times reports on Precipitation Study

Column one in today’s LA Times reports on rain researchers who try to determine why some storms clouds release rain and some do not. Hopefully this will help researchers understand California’s precipitation and how to better to predict it. This is important because the amount of rain we get every year is trending downward. Since 1980, on average California’s rainfall is down nearly 10 mm per year.

Table of california precipitation from NOAA

Table of california precipitation from NOAA

To put this in perspective, one millimeter of rainfall is the equivalent of one liter of water per square meter. Los Angeles is 1,290.6 km2 or in 1.29 million m2 in area. The loss of 10 mm of rain is equivalent to the loss of 12.9 million liters of water or roughly 3.2 million gallons of water. That is enough water to provide drinking water for 10% of Los Angeles, flush 1 million toilets, take a 10,000 hour shower (anyone have teenage children), or fill our former governor’s bathtub.

Clearly, the need for innovation in water technology in California is great and the market potential is large, spending on water tech is estimated to be $40 billion $60 billion annually over the next twenty years. So there should be attractive investment possibilities. Yet, Venture money in this sector is only 3% of total investments in Cleantech. Apparently, a disconnect exists between the actual importance of clean water and its financial possibilities.