R.I.P. California (1850-2016): What We’ll Lose And Learn From The World’s First Major Water Collapse | FEELguide | Film, Music, Design, Science, Style, Psychology, and More: Last week when NASA announced that California is on its death bed and has only 12 months of water left, the news hit like a punch to the gut. “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,” writes Jay Famiglietti of NASA.
Famiglietti adds: “Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.”