The receding water levels caused by the drought have changed the taste of water in some affected regions. People have complained that the water they receive has begun to taste a bit different. They felt that it tasted and smelled a bit ‘earthy.
Prolonged drought and little precipitation and extreme heat for over a decade have brought the region down on its knees. With reservoirs dying out, there has been a spike in the geosmin in the drinking water.
The muddy aftertaste is being caused by an algae bloom that is causing the geosmin. Though harmless when consumed, the smell and the taste are a bother for some. This is the same material that causes the muddy smell in freshwater fish and also causes the fresh smell after a shower known as petrichor.
The Muddy Smell In Sacramento Water Is Local
Though the present outbreak is confined to the Sacramento water, there have been instances of outbreaks of geosmin that have affected the smell and taste of water in the Bay Area. Mark Severeid, the Water Quality Superintendent of Sacramento said that though there have been complaints towards the end of summer, or at the beginning of autumn, the drought has caused the smell much earlier
With back-to-back droughts, the Sacramento Water is expected to taste different. With no let-up in the extreme heat, the lakes and reservoirs are expected to fry out and add to the unpleasant taste in the water.
And improvement in the quality of Sacramento water will depend on the improvement in the water treatment plants and their expansion.
The utility spokesman of Sacramento, Carlos Eliason said that putting it in the refrigerator or adding a dash of lemon usually gets rid of the unpleasant taste. He said that the administration was evaluating strategies to adapt to the dry conditions. Additional research programs at the treatment facilities will monitor the Sacramento water, the infrastructure for treatment, as well as the climate changes.
A drought emergency is in place in 41 of the 58 counties in California. It underscored that climate changes were here to stay and incidents like the Sacramento water odors would become more regular in the future.