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California Drought Could Paralyze the U.S.

Posted by feww on February 2, 2014





Why the Golden State is so important

California produces about 36 percent of the U.S. vegetables and nearly 70 percent of the country’s fruits and nuts.

The Golden State topped the nation’s agricultural states in cash receipts with $44.7 billion followed by Iowa ($31.9billion), Nebraska ($24.4billion), Texas ($22.7 billion) and Minnesota ($20.5 billion), according to USDA Agricultural Overview for crop year 2012.

California produced more than 350 crop and livestock commodities and was  the country’s No. 1 producer of 80 during the 2012 crop year.

california leading crop produce
1/ California is the sole producer (99 percent or more) of the commodities in bold.
2/ Includes tangelos, tangerines and tangors. [Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics, Pacific Region, California]

California also produced a total of 23 percent of the nation’s rice, 23 percent potatoes and sweet potatoes, 21 percent of the milk and cream and 6 percent of egg and chicken.

California is currently experiencing its worst drought on record. In 2013 California experienced its driest year since records began 120 years ago.

The severe drought prompted the worst-ever water supply forecast for California:
Zero Allocation

“Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project,” said the director of California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

DWR is securing what little water remains in the state’s reservoirs in response to the worsening drought and strong likelihood of more severe water shortages in the coming months.

The agency announced Friday that they took actions to conserve the state’s dwindling resources, as a result of which, “everyone—farmers, fish, and people in our cities and towns —will get less water.”

More than 25 million Californian and 1million acres (404,500 hectares) of farmland get all or most of their drinking and irrigation water from DWR.

Californoa Gov Brown declared a State of Emergency on January 17, describing  the drought as being “really serious,” and adding that 2014 could be California’s third consecutive dry year. “In many ways it’s a mega-drought.”

On Friday, Brown said, the zero allocation was a “stark reminder that California’s drought is real.”

“This historic announcement reflects the severity of California’s drought. After two previous dry years, 2014 is shaping up as the driest in state history,” said DWR.

  • On Thursday, Sierra snow survey found the snowpack’s statewide water content was only 12 percent of average for this time of year.
  • Water levels in key reservoirs now are lower than at this time in 1977, one of the two previous driest water years on record.
    • Lake Oroville in Butte County, the principal SWP reservoir, is at 36 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity (55 percent of its historical average for the date).
    • Shasta Lake north of Redding, California’s and the federal Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, is also at 36 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity (54 percent of average for the date).
    • San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta reservoir for both the SWP and CVP, is just 30 percent of its 2 million acre-foot capacity (39 percent of average for the date).

Snow Water Equivalents (inches)
Provided by the California Cooperative Snow Surveys
Data For: 31-Jan-2014

Data For: 31-Jan-2014
Number of Stations Reporting: 103
Average snow water equivalent:  2.7″
Percent of April 1 Average:  9%
Percent of normal for this date: 15%

Meanwhile, the severe drought continues to heighten the risk of wild fires.

California experienced catastrophic fires due to extremely dry conditions in 2003 and 2007.

U.S. Drought Monitor

Nearly 9 percent of California is covered by Exception Drought (D4 drought level), more than 58 percent by Extreme Drought (D3 drought level), about  23 percent by Sever Drought (D2 drought level) and over 9 percent of the state experiencing Abnormally Dry to Moderate Drought conditions as of last week.

The land area covered by Extreme Drought (D3 drought level) has more than doubled since January 7, 2014.

calif drought 28jan2014
California Drought Map as of January 28, 2014. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor.

‘Extreme’ and ‘Exceptional Drought’ levels are plaguing California, threatening at least 17 communities with water famine.

Links to the State websites:

Related Links

FIRE-EARTH 2009 Forecast: Desertification of California in the Near Future Is Almost a Certainty

[NOTE: The above forecast and most of the links posted below have previously been filtered by Google, WordPress and others. Editor ]

One Response to “California Drought Could Paralyze the U.S.”

  1. KT said

    According to a new study by a JPL senior hydrologist James Famiglietti, published in the Nature Climate Change journal, which confirms the information long-posted on your blog, major droughts are threatening food supply, and therefore global security.

    The planet’s largest aquifers (in the US, China, Middle East and India) are being depleted at unprecedented rates, posing a serious threat to the global food production.

    Two of the largest aquifers in the US–the Central Valley aquifer in California and the Ogallala aquifer–are now running at critically low levels, thanks to industrial farming and ever-expanding cities.

    He warns, “further declines in groundwater availability may well trigger more civil uprising and international violent conflict in the already water-stressed regions of the world, and new conflict in others.”

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