|The Green Bridge passes over full water levels at a section of Lake Oroville |
near the Bidwell Marina on July 20, 2011, in Oroville, California, followed
by current drought levels on Aug. 19, 2014.
- We may not think about it, but an economy runs on water and California is running out.
- The People's Republic has the #8 economy on earth. What happens to the economy of California and the U.S. when the reservoirs run dry?
(Los Angeles Times) - Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California's winter was as well.
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. We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too.
Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir.
Statewide, we've been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.
As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal 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 our 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.
In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.
Read More . . . .
|A warning sign on a dried-out beach at Folsom Lake, CA|
Read more: Daily Mail
|Growing Crops in a Desert|
The problem is that California's entire almond crop commands a stunning 1.1 trillion gallons of water every single year.
That's twice as much as it takes to grow cotton or tomatoes, and enough - I am reliably informed - for you or me to take a 10-minute shower every day for the next 86 million years.See our sister Blog:
The People's Republic - How almonds are sucking California dry