California has one year of water left; No contingency plan in pl - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

California has one year of water left; No contingency plan in place

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(KHQ.COM)- The wet season is coming to a close in California but the rain and snowfall totals were far from enough to help alleviate the state's water crisis. In an Op-Ed in the LA Times (http://lat.ms/1wC1Lqs), Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA says California's water supply in its reservoirs will only last about one more year and the strategic backup supply and ground water are disappearing rapidly.

January 2015 was the driest since meteorological records began. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all time lows and Famiglietti says, 'We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too.'

In January 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown announced the Emergency Drought Proclamation. He asked that Californians voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20%. Some communities met and even exceeded those goals but new statistics released show water conservation efforts didn't last long. In January 2015, year-over-year monthly residential water savings declined statewide to 8.8%. That is down more than 60% from December of 2014.

According to Famiglietti, the state of California has no contingency plans for the ongoing drought. He suggests California should start rationing water across the board from domestic and municipal to agricultural and industrial water supplies. Famiglietti also says the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act should be accelerated. The law requires groundwater sustainability agencies to come together and form a plan by the year 2022 and 'achieve sustainability 20 years after that.' It would take about 30 years to see if their efforts actually work, and just a reminder: the state's water supply is expected to only last one more year.

According to NASA, they have three new Earth science missions scheduled to launch this year, that will contribute to water cycle research and water-related national policy decisions:

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, is a joint satellite project with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency that launched on February 27. It will inaugurate an unprecedented international satellite constellation that will produce the first nearly global observations of rainfall and snowfall. The new information will help answer questions about our planet's life-sustaining water cycle, and improve water resource management and weather forecasting.

ISS-RapidScat, scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in June, will extend the data record of ocean winds around the globe. The data are a key factor in climate research, weather and marine forecasting and tracking of storms and hurricanes.

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), launching in November, will inform water resource management decisions on water availability. SMAP data will also aid in predictions of plant growth and agricultural productivity, improve short-term weather forecasts and long-term climate change projections, and advance the ability to monitor droughts and predict floods and mitigate their related impacts on people's lives.

NASA also plans to launch four additional water-related satellites in the next seven years: The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2); Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Follow-on; Surface Water Ocean Topography mission; and the NASA-Indian Space Research Organization Synthetic Aperture Radar mission.

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