NASA Scientist: Calif. Has ‘About One Year of Water Supply Left’

As California’s so-called “rainy” season comes to an end, the state is still facing devastating drought conditions and its time to seriously consider rationing, a water scientist writes in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times.

“January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895,” wrote Jay Famiglietti, who is senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/CalTech and UC Irvine professor of Earth system science.

“Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too,” said Famiglietti’s Thursday opinion piece.

California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basin levels are below the 34 million acre-feet they were at in 2014, according to data from NASA. Since 2011, river basin levels have dropped 12 million acre feet of water per year.

According to the NASA water scientist, “roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley,” which is something farmers must do when there is a drought “especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80 percent to 100 percent.”