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.”
Work has begun on a project at Folsom Dam to install backup pumps in case the level of Folsom Lake drops significantly.
California regulators have fined 30 oil and gas operators for failing to report how much water they’re using.
There were no changes in the intensity of drought in California over the past week and El Niño is not expected to end the state's historic drought.
California water regulators accuse company of illegally diverting water that is later trucked, bottled, and sold in stores.
The drought is changing the size and flavor of California's fruit.