When it comes to California’s drought, 2015 has not been a year for good news so far. NASA is now making predictions which claim the state’s water supply will run out within a year, and others predict a so-called megadrought could continue for years to come.
Jay Famiglietti is a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and so far, he has painted quite a dire picture of California’s drought conditions. He notes that in 2015, “January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895” and “groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows.” This past Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that one-third of California’s mountain-based monitoring stations recorded the lowest snowpack measurements ever recorded.
Based upon these records, the NASA scientist predicts California’s drought may cause the state to run out of water completely by 2016.
“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,” Famiglietti writes in the Los Angeles Times.
In order to avoid this water crisis, it is recommended that “immediate mandatory water rationing should be authorized across all of the state’s water sectors, from domestic and municipal through agricultural and industrial.” The scientist calls for more government involvement and the creation of new agencies based upon the the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. Lastly, it’s recommended the state form a “task force of thought leaders” whose primary goal is to deal with California’s drought by laying the “groundwork for long-term water management strategies.”
Just how long term are we talking about? Many think California’s drought is bad already, but the megadroughts are going to be even worse, and may last decades. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a study by scientists at NASA, Cornell University and Columbia University claims that California’s megadrought could start between 2050 and 2099.
“The bad news is, these past megadroughts — and we don’t use ‘mega-‘ lightly — when we compare the characteristics of those to the projections from future models, the future’s worse.”
It’s expected that California’s megadrought could include much of the Southwestern states, and will include extremely dry weather in addition to even higher surface temperatures.