Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
Satellites Show California Water Storage at Near-Decade Low
by Staff Writers
Irvine CA (SPX) Feb 05, 2014


File image.

Updates to satellite data show that California's Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins are at near decade-low water storage levels. These and other findings on the State's dwindling water resources were documented in an advisory report released today from the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling (UCCHM) at the University of California, Irvine.

Responding to Governor Jerry Brown's recent declaration of a drought emergency in California, a team of UCCHM researchers has updated its research on the state's two largest river basins, and the source of most its water. The region also encompasses the Central Valley, the most productive agriculture region in the country. The Central Valley depends entirely on the surface and groundwater resources within the river basins to meet its irrigation needs and to produce food for the nation.

Using satellite data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, the researchers, led by UCCHM Director and UC Irvine Professor Jay Famiglietti, found that as of November 2013, total water storage in the river basins -- the combination of all of the snow, surface water, soil moisture and groundwater, and an integrated measure of basin-wide water availability -- had declined to its lowest point in nearly a decade. GRACE data for the record-dry 2013-2014 winter months were not yet available for analysis.

The data show particularly steep water losses between November 2011 and November 2013, the early phase of the current drought. Famiglietti and fellow UCCHM researchers estimate that the basins have already lost 10 cubic kilometers of fresh water in each of the last two years -- equivalent to virtually all of California's urban and household water use each year. "That's the steepest decline in total water storage that we've seen in California since the GRACE mission was launched in 2002," Famiglietti said.

The researchers noted that snowpack, surface water and soil moisture storage in the river basins were all at their lowest points in nearly a decade, illustrating a growing threat to groundwater supplies in the Central Valley, and highlighting the urgent need to manage them sustainably. Groundwater is typically viewed as a strategic reserve that supplements sparse surface water supplies in times of drought.

By combining their satellite-based estimates of 10 years (October 2003 - November 2013) of Central Valley groundwater storage changes with long-term estimates of groundwater losses from the U. S. Geological Survey, the researchers noted that steep declines in groundwater storage are typical during droughts, when Central Valley farmers are forced to rely more heavily on groundwater to meet irrigation demands.

The advisory report underscores that the rates of declining groundwater storage during drought almost always outstrip rates of groundwater replenishment during wet periods, and raises fears about the impact of long-term groundwater depletion on sustaining a reliable water supply in the current, record-setting drought. The team's previous 2011 study estimated that the Central Valley lost 20 cubic kilometers of groundwater during the 2006-2010 drought.

Historically, drought conditions and groundwater depletion in the Central Valley are responsible for widespread land subsidence, reductions in planted acreage, higher food costs and ecological damage.

Famiglietti notes that if the drought continues "Central Valley groundwater levels will fall to all-time lows." Stephanie Castle, a UCCHM researcher who contributed to the report, believes that groundwater supplies should be more actively managed. Castle states that "the path of groundwater use that we are on threatens the sustainability of future water supplies for all Californians." She noted that several communities within the state are on track to run out of water within the next few months.

.


Related Links
UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Is there an ocean beneath our feet?
Liverpool, UK (SPX) Feb 03, 2014
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that deep sea fault zones could transport much larger amounts of water from the Earth's oceans to the upper mantle than previously thought. Water is carried mantle by deep sea fault zones which penetrate the oceanic plate as it bends into the subduction zone. Subduction, where an oceanic tectonic plate is forced beneath another plate, ca ... read more


WATER WORLD
Fire erupts at US nuclear waste plant

Repairs may mean darker hue for Rio's iconic Christ statue

Prisoners again bolt typhoon-damaged Philippine jail

One in 4 Japan tsunami children needs psychiatric care

WATER WORLD
Oman orders NASAMS air defense system

A Proposal For The Space Debris Society

Storage system for 'big data' dramatically speeds access to information

Raytheon secures first international customer for its F-16 RACR AESA radar

WATER WORLD
Satellites Show California Water Storage at Near-Decade Low

Is there an ocean beneath our feet?

Smithsonian reports fiery-red coral species discovered in the Peruvian Pacific

Can workshops on household water use impact consumer behavior?

WATER WORLD
NASA Radar Maps the Winter Pace of Iceland's Glaciers

Arctic lakes show climate on thin ice

Greenland's fastest glacier reaches record speeds

Greenhouse "Time Machine" Sheds Light on Corn Domestication

WATER WORLD
Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity

Local foods offer tangible economic benefits in some regions

Are invasive plants a problem in Europe? Controversial views among invasion biologists

Beneficial insects, nematodes not harmed by genetically modified, insect-resistant crops

WATER WORLD
New Indonesian volcanic eruption halts search

New quake inflicts fresh damage on Greek island

Cut off by floods, British village becomes an island

Philippine typhoon survivors brace for new storm

WATER WORLD
'Do not disappoint', Nigeria's new top brass told

Vodacom sees surge in Africa mobile data usage

Head of Algeria ruling party attacks powerful intel chief

Zambia national park mining plan draws protests

WATER WORLD
Researchers discover how brain regions work together, or alone

Experiments show human brain uses one code for space, time, distance

Neanderthal lineages excavated from modern human genomes

When populations collide




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement