California is running out of water fast, according to NASA senior water scientist. Shockingly, the entire state of California will be out of water in just a year’s time.
Yes, California will run out of water in 12 months, according to Jay Famiglietti, NASA senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before the current drought. NASA data reveals that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.
Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and the strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.
The drought means that total water storage in California, which has been in decline since 2002, has been sapped by the need to use the resource for farming, Famiglietti said in the Los Angeles Times.
The use of groundwater for farming in the Central Valley has caused land to sink by one foot a year.
Sprinklers and other landscaping accounts for 70 per cent of urban water use, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Since 2011 the state of California has been losing 12 million acre-feet of water per year and the total amount of water in snow, rivers, groundwater and reservoirs was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014.
Famiglietti suggested immediate water-rationing measures, which are being considered in southern California, across the entire state.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency at the beginning of last year, though Californians only reduced their water usage by 9 per cent instead of a hoped-for 20 per cent.
The current drought in the western United States, which is entering its fourth year, is the worst in modern American history. Snowpacks in California mountains like the Sierra Nevadas, which the state relies to melt into water, have been near record lows this year.
Scientists from NASA, Cornell University and Columbia University released research in February that said there could be worse droughts to come.
A “Megadrought” that could last several decades and would be worse than any other such phenomenon in 1000 years is expected sometimes between 2050 and 2099, according to their research. The current dryness affects not only the West Coast, but also the rest of the country. California grows the majority of many fruits and vegetables for the US. Their produce makes up 69 per cent of carrots, 71 per cent of spinach, 99 per cent of artichokes and more than 90 per cent of broccoli, according to Slate.
Famiglietti said that “the public remains detached from discussions and decisions” about conserving water and urged them to take ownership of the crisis.
Hopefully this will quickly happen considering that water is our most important, commonly owned resource.
And eerily, California is not alone…the megacity of São Paulo, Brazil is suffering its worst drought in eight decades.