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Published On: Sun, Mar 15th, 2015

NASA scientists says California out of water in 2016, calls water shortage ‘dire’

A NASA scientist made some shocking revelations regarding the California drought, low water supply and possible fall out from the water shortage.

“We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too,” writes Jay Famigelietti, the senior water scientist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech in the LA Times, adding that there appears to be only about one year of water left.

Photo/Ahzaryamed via Wikimedia Commons

Photo/Ahzaryamed via Wikimedia Commons

“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,” he writes.

2014 alone did a lot of damage on the state’s water supply with it being the hottest year on record for California with snowfall making only a miniscule dent and this past January was the driest for the state since record keeping began in 1895.

The Weather Channel explains, “There’s not much snow on the Sierra. … for this time of the year we’re actually running … only about 18 percent, one-fifth, the snow fall you’d expect. … We really have to hope we can get some more rain in there.”

​Other than the obvious lack of precipitation, farmers are also being blamed for much of the dwindling water supply.

According to Famigelietti, “Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80 percent to 100 percent. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable.”

The Sacramento Bee reports some farmers are willing to give up a portion of their crops to sell water to the Metropolitan area. The price being offered for one of our most precious natural resources highlights just how severe the shortage is.

The report notes that rice farmers in Sacramento Valley will be paid about $700 an acre-foot, which is about 326,000 gallons or a year’s worth of water for just two households. Compare that to last year’s $500 an acre-foot price tag.

Famigelietti did make a few recommendations as to how Californians can better combat the growing problem, including “immediate mandatory water rationing.”

KXTV talked to Famigelietti who said, “In the home those of us who water the grass should consider getting rid of the lawns and planting … native landscaping” and implement a task force, encouraging “the public [to] take ownership of this issue,” and accelerating “the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014.”

“The act requires the formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) that must assess conditions in their local water basins and adopt locally-based management plans.” The act allows for a 20-year implementation period after the agencies create a plan. But if NASA’s predictions are true, by then “there may be no groundwater left to sustain.”

“All of this news comes as the state water resources control board is considering tighter regulations or restrictions state-wide,” KRON reports.

One board member told KTVU, “We are looking at some new prohibitions also, to make sure restaurants aren’t serving water unless the customers are requesting it, the hotels and the motels are giving guests the options of not having their sheets and towels laundered.”

Another possible new rule from the board, whose members call the situation “dire,” includes enforcing a fine for residents who over water their lawns. Those fines could be up to $500.

 

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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  1. Water Damage San Francisco | Water Damage On House In Little Osaka Ca says:

    […] NASA scientists says California out of water in 2016, calls water shortage ‘dire’ – 2014 alone did a lot of damage on the state’s water supply with it being the hottest year on record for California with snowfall making … According to Famigelietti, “Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts … […]

  2. jacqueline says:

    PLEASE HELP I DO NOT WANT TO BE IN A DROUGHT PLEASE HELP I DONT WANNA BE THRISTY FOR WATER PLZ OPEN A SALIET THING FOR IT CAN CLEAN UP THE OCEAN WATER TO TAKE ALL THE SALT WATER AWAY -PLEASE HELP WE NEED THE WATER IM PAROMNAED PLEASE OPEN THAT PLACE PLEASE OPEN IT THANK NYOU FOR READING THIS. :]

  3. Jerry Brown, California spending $1 billion in drought aid on flood prevention, recycling - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] massive storms that flood through these channels and overflow and cause havoc,” he said as a NASA expert warned of what the next year will […]

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