California has lost 11 trillion gallons of water in recent drought

Water storage in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins measured “11 trillion gallons below normal seasonal levels” earlier this year, according to data presented by NASA scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. The new information shows precisely how severe California’s drought is. Since 2011, those basins have decreased in volume by 4 trillion gallons of water per year — a rate that outpaces the amount used yearly by California residents.

The agency attributes two-thirds of the loss to the depletion of groundwater in California’s Central Valley. They also discovered that the groundwater levels in the entire Southwest United States “are in the lowest 2 to 10 percent since 1949.”


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