• Despite Rains the Drought is Far From Over

    Don’t get complacent. Despite record-breaking rainfall in the past two weeks, officials at the U.S. Drought Monitor say that we are still in a state of drought and that the rain that brought flash flood warnings and mudslides along with collateral damage only provided a toehold for drought recovery.

    Reservoir levels and subsoil moisture are still a long way from being back to normal after the past three years of subnormal precipitation, which resulted in the most severe drought of the last 1200 years. Officials are concerned that residents will become complacent and relax water conservation measures.

    “… Three straight winters of subnormal precipitation will take time (possibly several consecutive wet winters) to fully recharge the reservoir levels and subsoil moisture back to normal,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory uses satellite data for calculate the Earth’s changing shape, surface height, and gravity field. Scientists are able to measure and analyze precisely when droughts begin and end and how severe they are. The data have led scientists to affirm that four trillion gallons each year have disappeared from the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins for an unimaginable total of 11 trillion gallons, more than the state normally uses for domestic and municipal uses in the same length of time.

    It would take another three years to catch up. And that’s assuming normal temperature ranges, as higher temperatures would cause continued evaporation of surface water as well as a reduced snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, where levels are only 48 percent of what is considered normal. Additionally, extra drying of soil and the need for greater agricultural water have resulted in strain on the subsurface aquifers.

     

    posted to Cedar Street Times on December 23, 2014

    Topics: Front PG News, Green

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