I asked this last night on twitter and my fb feed, and alarmingly, got no real answer than “Annex Oregon and Washington.” So we’ll try here:
Does anyone have anything even remotely approaching what could be called a plan for when California runs out of water next year? Other than having ignorant ass James Inhofe hand carry snowballs there, of course.
Plagued by prolonged drought, California now has only enough water to get it through the next year, according to NASA.
In an op-ed published Thursday by the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, painted a dire picture of the state’s water crisis. California, he writes, has lost around 12 million acre-feet of stored water every year since 2011. In the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins, the combined water sources of snow, rivers, reservoirs, soil water and groundwater amounted to a volume that was 34 million acre-feet below normal levels in 2014. And there is no relief in sight.
“As our ‘wet’ season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows” Famiglietti writes. “We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that one-third of the monitoring stations in California’s Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountains have recorded the lowest snowpack ever measured.
“Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing,” Famiglietti writes.
Even if every single person left California, they would still have water issues, because 85% of their water goes to agriculture, and they basically feed the entire nation:
In 2012, the most recent year for which a full crop year report is available, California’s 80,500 farms and ranches received $42.6 billion for their output. California remained the number one state in cash farm receipts with 11.3 percent of the US total. The state accounted for 15 percent of national receipts for crops and 7.1 percent of the US revenue for livestock and livestock products.
California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities. The state produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. Across the nation, US consumers regularly purchase several crops produced solely in California.
California’s top-ten valued commodities for 2013 are:
Milk — $7.6 billion
Almonds — $5.8 billion
Grapes — $5.6 billion
Cattle, Calves — $3.05 billion
Strawberries — $2.2 billion
Walnuts — $1.8 billion
Lettuce — $1.7 billion
Hay — $1.6 billion
Tomatoes — $1.2 billion
Nursery plants— $1.2 billion
Aside from the variety of foods that the US will lose when California dries up, the economic impact will be devastating. California’s total GDP of 1.96 trillion would make it tenth largest economy in the world, their GDP in food production of 43 billion would make it 85th in the world. You would be decimating the United States economy if California if not exist, and with no water, it practically won’t.
This is a disaster, and really, compared to how enormous a disaster this will be, there is no discussion in the news, really. Maybe Malaysia can crash a jet in Central Valley or something. I honestly don’t know what could be done- solar powered desalinization on a massive scale? Get Rick Perry in to lead a prayer?
Oh, and as a joke, I asked who would be the first Republican to suggest defunding NASA for bringing us these scary details. Little did I know that someone already had essentially done just that:
Sen. Ted Cruz thinks NASA should spend less time studying the planet and more time finding ways to go out into space.
Cruz (R-TX), who is chair of the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee, addressed his concerns at a hearing Thursday on the $18.5 billion budget request for NASA’s fiscal year 2016. There, he asked NASA Administrator Charles Bolden what Bolden thought NASA’s “core mission” was.
“Our core mission from the very beginning has been to investigate, explore space and the Earth environment, and to help us make this place a better place,” Bolden said.
Cruz wasn’t satisfied.
“Almost any American would agree that the core function of NASA is to explore space,” he said. “That’s what inspires little boys and little girls across this country … and you know that I am concerned that NASA in the current environment has lost its full focus on that core mission.”
But Bolden defended NASA’s work here on Earth. NASA compiles data on the planet’s air pollution via satellite, engages in research on new forms of energy, and is a key agency for climate change and ice melt data. Bolden alluded to the agency’s study of climate change in his response to Cruz, saying that the agency can’t do any of its work — on the ground or up in space — “if the Kennedy Space Center goes underwater and we don’t know it.” That’s not a hyperbolic worry — scientists have warned that sea level rise is putting the Kennedy Center, which is located in Florida, at risk.
“It is absolutely critical that we understand Earth’s environment because this is the only place that we have to live,” Bolden said. “Science helps exploration; exploration helps science.”
Cruz said during the hearing that he worried about NASA’s increase in spending on Earth science and, according to Cruz, its decrease in spending on space exploration (Bolden said he didn’t have enough information on what Cruz included in his calculations of NASA’s spending, so he didn’t know whether he agreed with the Senator’s assessment of the agency’s spending). ThinkProgress reached out to Cruz’s office for additional comment but hasn’t heard back as of press time.
We’re so fucked. And fuck you Texas for giving us that asshole.