California Running Out Of Water

Addition 3-21-15: California Targets Wrong Water Wasters

NASA scientists contemplate that California may have only one year of water left before the point of no return as snowpack becomes less and less and El Nino makes itself known off the warming Pacific Coast now breaking heat records in California and Canada. Yet, big ag is still allowed to grow non-essential crops in the desert to export without rationing while people are penalized for watering their lawns. Sure hope that almond butter you bought was worth sacrificing an entire ecosystem. Unbelievable.

California Has About One Year Of Water Left: Will You Ration Now?



(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The sunrise illuminates the receding waters of Pine Flat Reservoir, one of California's most severely depleted dams.

By Jay Famiglietti

We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too

Authorize mandatory water rationing across the state

March 12, 2015,

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.

End of excerpt

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It absolutely boggles my mind that California has been watching this unfold for over a decade and still people are more concerned with keeping their pools filled and growing almonds than taking this for the profoundly serious crisis this is. However, it is not surprising to me because in the last eight years I have been writing about this here I have been warning people that moral will has to take precedence in order for us to save our water and ourselves. That this comes down to the false worth we give to green paper and our own selfish lifestyles over what really matters. That this comes down to political convenience and profit taking precedence over principle.

That this is happening in California is to me so ironic. The state purported to have so many "liberal" celebrities who care about the environment is now running out of water. Imagine in one year's time with usage continuing as is and people not getting the message that rationing and conservation must now be employed... California is the fifth largest economy in the world and agriculture is it's heart. The economic fall out of this alone not just for California but a large part of the world will be devastating. The entire way farmers farm in California is going to have to change if they are to continue having farms. People continuing to fight over water for almonds, or fracking or other profit making schemes when people need water to live and crops that are necessary is not a solution and is now causing wells to be dug so deep to now use up ancient water with scientists predicting California may not be far off from the "big one".

I have always stated that people truly do not appreciate the importance of water until the well runs dry. Well, that well is now running dry and if the people of California do not now wake up out of their stupor they will wake up one morning to see no water running out of their golden faucets. Will they care then? What does it take to spark the moral will necessary to save ourselves? Do people really think they can use all the groundwater up and then move to the oceans? If so, it only illustrates how weak and selfish we humans really are.

Also see:

Excessive Drought-Floods In California/Abrupt Climate Change

Central California Residents Rely on Bottled Water As Wells Run Dry

California Drought Getting Worse-Linked To Global Warming

California Drought: San Joaquin Valley Sinking As Farmers Race To Tap Aquifer

California Drought: 17 Communities Could Run Out of Water Within 60 To 120 days/Updates

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