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.”
Five years of drought exacerbated wildfires across California. Fire and flood agencies say those burned areas now have an increased risk of flash flooding.
An odd assortment of corporations, nonprofits, environmental and agricultural groups have joined forces to help increase California’s water supply.
A new study shows that forest fires have doubled in the West because of climate change.
Statewide water conservation dropped below 18 percent in August.
Improved drought conditions and more renewables lead to decrease in natural gas use this summer.