California Has 1 Year of Water Left, NASA Warns
William La Jeunesse reported today on the expanded rules, which come with the state in its fourth year of drought. Winter is now coming to an end without many significant storms or snowfall to help the situation.
He called the new regulations "baby steps." For instance, restaurants won't give you a glass of water unless you request it and lawn watering is restricted to two days a week.
The current egulations have not really been enforced in Los Angeles, however. The city of 4 million fined just two people for wasting water in 2014, the driest year on record for the state.
Officials say the restrictions may need to be tightened significantly in the summer, including bans on lawn watering and car washing and possibly rewarding residents for turning in neighbors who aren't obeying the rules.
One expert told La Jeunesse that the voluntary restrictions "have not gotten us where we need to get."
Many farmers aren't getting enough water, so they're drilling deeper for ground water, depleting wells in local communities.
George Kostryko of the state water control board said some areas could soon be only 60 days away from losing their water supply.
In an L.A. Times op-ed, Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, painted an extremely dire picture.
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. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.
Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.
In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.
Watch the report above, and read his full piece about the water crisis, here.