The Clamor for more dams and diversions of Northern California water is only going to get worse in light of this news……………
NASA: California Has One Year of Water Left
Plagued by prolonged drought, California now has only enough water to get it through the next year, according to NASA.
In an op-ed published Thursday by the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, painted a dire picture of the state’s water crisis. California, he writes, has lost around 12 million acre-feet of stored water every year since 2011. In the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins, the combined water sources of snow, rivers, reservoirs, soil water and groundwater amounted to a volume that was 34 million acre-feet below normal levels in 2014. And there is no relief in sight.
“As our ‘wet’ season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows” Famiglietti writes. “We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that one-third of the monitoring stations in California’s Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountains have recorded the lowest snowpack ever measured.
“Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing,” Famiglietti writes.
Californian officials have been criticized for their lack of long-term planning for how to cope with this drought, and future droughts, beyond “staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.”
For their part, agricultural interests have argued that they shouldn’t be subject to rationing because they’re too important to the state. After all, they say, how would we eat without the state’s bountiful farms?
But environmentalists rightly note that no one is calling for a cutback on water use for the state’s essential food supplies. The problem is the water wasted on non-essential crops. Right now, California is producing far more almonds than state residents can consume. So much so that 80 percent of the state’s almond crop is now exported — much of it to China. In other words, we’re essentially exporting our water to China.
That’s absurd. And if Governor Brown and California water officials are ever going to get serious about conserving water, then they need to abandon crazy business practices — like growing water-intensive crops in the desert and spending $25 billion on water tunnels to make it happen so we can sell more nuts to China. That’s especially true now that we’ve only got one year of water left.