In an article written for the Los Angeles Times by Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Famiglietti explains the seriousness of California’s drought.
“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,” Famiglietti writes.
“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,” Famiglietti explains.
Famiglietti criticizes California for not having a plan to deal with this serious loss of water. Right now, the public is told the state remains in emergency mode and is encouraged to pray for rain.
According to Famiglietti, “ ... the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.”
The author outlines several steps that need to be taken immediately in order to curb California’s loss of water. He insists that mandatory water rationing needs to be authorized across all of the state’s water sectors, the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act needs to be accelerated, and the state needs a group of leaders to develop a long-term water management strategy.
Finally, Famiglietti demands the public take responsibility. “This crisis belongs to all of us — not just to a handful of decision-makers. Water is our most important, commonly owned resource, but the public remains detached from discussions and decisions,” he writes.
Sources: Los Angeles Times