Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


This thesis paper addresses the severe drought brought on by climate change that California is currently experiencing and examines methods to counter the drought in order to minimize water usage and increase water levels. Historically, California has experienced several periods of drought which are increasingly becoming more detrimental to the environment. It is crucial to mitigate the drought as California has already been feeling its major effects from it. As temperatures rise and the atmosphere becomes drier, the water supply in California could be diminished by 10% by 2040. Chapter 1 uses several studies and reports on the California drought to analyze the rate of water loss and reveals the negative effects of water shortage. It also provides data on the increasing severity of climate change and the factors that induce it. Chapter 2 explores the negative externalities the drought has brought on the economy, especially in the agriculture industry, as water is in higher demand, more than ever. California is America’s Garden, producing most of the fruits and nuts grown in the United States. However, the future of the agricultural economy does not bode well with the current drought. Chapter 3 focuses on the history of drought as it has been prevalent in California, with the first severe drought dating back to 1924. While there has been some progress from the previous droughts, such as an increase in water recycling, the groundwater supply continues to be critically low. Chapter 4 draws on policies and regulations set by the California government as well as how effective media is in conveying these messages to reduce water usage. Chapter 5 lists policy recommendations, drawing from the previous chapters that will not only work to aid California residents in combating the drought but also aim to help the state reach its water level target.