The report from UC Irvine’s Center for Hydrologic Modeling is an update to a 2011 study which showed the basins lost nearly as much water as the volume of Lake Mead over a seven year period.
The new report finds water storage in the last two years continues to plummet, and the study doesn’t even include the most recent dry winter.
Report author Jay Famiglietti says the amount of water lost is equal to the water used by all of California’s urban areas each year. Most of the loss is due to groundwater withdrawals.
Famiglietti says groundwater levels drop faster during drought than they can be replenished during wet periods.
“This is a worse than ever situation," says Famiglietti. "So we really have to watch what’s going to happen with the groundwater. It’s been bad in the past during drought periods and now with a zero surface water allocation I’m quite concerned that it will be terrible in the future.”
With the shift from winter to spring comes new watering limitations for Sacramento residents. To conserve water, residents are being asked to only water twice a week.
The drought has left honey bees without their normal supply of wildflowers to feed on. Beekeepers have supplemented their diet, but that lacks nutrition to keep hives healthy. CapRadio's Amy Quinton tags along with a local beekeeper to learn more.
There’s a bit more progress in the delicate dance of reaching a deal on a new California water bond proposal that would replace the $11 billion bond currently on the November ballot. But a deal – if any – is still months away.
Many people in the Sacramento region responded to calls to conserve water, using less last month than in the previous two Februaries. Many cities have not met conservation goals.
The city of Sacramento is moving ahead with a plan to offer rebates to people who rip out their front lawns and replace them with drought-tolerant landscaping.