17 Interesting Facts About the California Drought

by admin on April 20, 2015

On April 1st, California governor Jerry Brown made an executive order that requires cities and towns to cut 25% of water use (excluding agriculture) to save an estimated 1.5 million acre feet of water over the next 9 months. Here are 17 interesting facts about the longest California drought in over a century.

Grapevines in CalifoniaThe drought currently encompasses over 98% of the state of California.
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More than 44% of California is in “exceptional” drought — the worst level of drought.
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Some parts of the Sierra Mountains that typically have 66 inches of snow pack are barren.
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Farmers could sell their water for $700 an acre foot, more than they would earn by using the water to grow crops.
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“Nearly 60 percent of the state’s water needs are now met by groundwater, up from 40 percent in years when normal amounts of rain and snow fall.”
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“The drought forced California farmers to fallow 500,000 acres of land in 2014. And the number could double in 2015.”
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“California-based trade organization Western Growers Association estimated 17,000 farm jobs were lost in 2014.”
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“California is the world’s fifth-largest supplier of food.”
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“California grows 43 percent of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables and more than 90 percent of its almonds, grapes, and broccoli.”
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“The current drought cost the (farming) sector an estimated $2.2 billion last year.”
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“In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.”
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“The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which is counted on to provide 30 percent of the state’s water supply as it melts through early summer, is at its second-lowest level on record.”
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“The diminished hydropower capacity of California’s dams cost electricity customers a total of $1.4 billion in the past three years.”
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“It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (42 cubic kilometers) — around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir — to recover from California’s continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.”
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California’s current drought is driest period in the state’s 163 years of recorded rainfall history.
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NASA scientists predict that there is an 80 percent chance of a megadrought in the Southwest United States before the end of the century.
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Rows of almond trees cover nearly 1 million acres in California and consume 1.07 trillion gallons annually in the state, one-fifth more than California families use indoors.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steve August 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm

I appreciate these statistics being readily available . I am a southern California resident and really see how dry it is . All of our lakes are low , lawns are vanishing , and water is still being misused.

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