California will run out of water in 12 months, according to a NASA scientist. The state only has one year of supply left in its reservoirs due to persistent drought and is also running out of backup groundwater, Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote. 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, he said in the Los Angeles Times.
Since 2011 the state has been losing 12million acre-feet of water per year and the total amount of water in snow, rivers, groundwater and reservoirs was 34million acre-feet below normal in 2014.
Famiglietti suggested immediate water-rationing measures, which are being considered in southern California, across the state.
The use of groundwater for farming in the Central Valley has caused land to sink by one foot a year.
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.
Beyond residents’ consumpton, use of groundwater for farming in the Central Valley has caused land to sink by one foot a year.
He also urged the acceleration of task forces and programs meant to ensure that California will have enough water in the future, which are currently slated to ‘achieve sustainability’ in 2042.
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.
Famiglietti said that efforts need to be accelerated before it’s too late, because he’d ‘like to live in a state that has a paddle so that it might also still have a creek’.
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 published in Science.
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.
Source: Daily Mail