NASA: California Out of Water in a Year
State's water supplies are running out, warns Jay Famiglietti
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2015 4:43 PM CDT
Seth Shteir, a California Desert Field Representative for the National Parks Conservation Association, hikes to a natural spring at the Mojave National Preserve near Kelso, Calif.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(Newser) – Water isn't just running low in California, a top NASA scientist warns—it's going to plum run out in about a year. "As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water—and the problem started before our current drought," writes Jay Famiglietti in the LA Times. He notes ominously that since 2011, California has lost roughly 12 million acre-feet of stored water per year, and water sources in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins are way below normal levels. He says the state needs to ration water, manage groundwater better, and form a task force to create better water strategies. "We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too," he writes. In other bleak water news:

  • Desperate for groundwater, California is drilling deep enough to extract ancient water that dates back 15,000 to 20,000 years, Mother Jones reports. That groundwater may never be replenished, water quality will suffer, and pumping will grow ever pricier, experts say.
  • An article in the journal Groundwater warns that a water supply amounting to two Lake Eries was depleted across the US in recent years. "That's enough to contribute to rising sea levels, along with melting glaciers and polar ice," says Mother Jones.
  • Meanwhile, a blistering heatwave has struck California with record-high temperatures yesterday in several locations, including Los Angeles (90) and San Diego (89), the LA Times reports.
  • And Cali isn't alone: Officials in Brazil predict that Sao Paolo—the biggest and most economically vital city in South America—will run out of water by June, PRI reports. Some 20 million residents are taking precautions amid the region's worst drought in decades.