California is down to its last year of water reserves after a prolonged drought, a senior water science from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported earlier this month in a Los Angeles Times op ed.
“We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too,” wrote Jay Famiglietti. “”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.”
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The state has lost 12 million acre-feet of stored water every year since 2011, Famiglietti noted. He called for “immediate mandatory water rationing,” coupled with tighter regulation and monitoring to counter “excessive and unsustainable” groundwater extraction for agriculture.
Meteorologist Steve Bowen of reinsurance firm Aon Benfield said tap water shortages “are a distinct possibility if mitigation efforts aren’t embraced and droughts become more frequent and intense in the coming years,” Grist reported.
“Though some climatologists hoped this year’s El Niño system would make a difference, the state remains horribly parched,” writes correspondent John Light. “As the state braces for a fourth year of drought, state regulators on Tuesday imposed new water restrictions, mostly aimed at reminding Californians of the degree of scarcity.”
Meanwhile, “cities and farmers are drilling deep into the ground to tap 20,000-year-old water reserves, dating from the last ice age. That prehistoric water is definitely a limited resource.”
CBC coverage focused on an array of water conservation efforts taking shape in Los Angeles under a $1 billion emergency plan announced by Gov. Jerry Brown.