The drought in California is getting a lot worse. As you read this, snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mountains are the lowest that have ever been recorded. That means that there won’t be much water for California farmers and California cities once again this year. To make up the difference in recent years, water has been pumped out of the ground like crazy. In fact, California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of groundwater a year since 2011, and wells all over the state are going dry. Once the groundwater is all gone, what are people going to do? 100 years ago, the population of the state of California was 3 million, and during the 20th century we built lots of beautiful new cities in an area that was previously a desert. Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century in 1000 years for that area of the country, but now weather patterns are reverting back to normal. Today, the state of California is turning back into a desert but it now has a population of 38 million people. This is not sustainable in the long-term. So when the water runs out, where are they going to go? Continue reading
ECHO LAKE, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered officials Wednesday to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping.
Standing in dry, brown grass at a site that normally would be snow-covered this time of year, Brown announced he had signed an executive order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut the state’s overall water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.
The move will affect residents, businesses, farmers and other users. Continue reading
The drought in California is persisting even after significant rainfall. It’s a bad situation, but it is absolutely nothing compared to what is in store for the Central Plains and Southwestern region of the United States in the next 100 years.
Scientists had already found that the Southwestern United States were at great risk of experiencing a significant megadrought (in this case meaning drought conditions that last for over 35 years) before the end of the 21st century. But a new study published in Science Advances added some grim context to those predictions. Continue reading