The California Drought Is So Bad It’s Literally Moving Mountains

And other ways the weather is drastically affecting the state.

Houseboats are dwarfed by the steep banks of Shasta Lake at Holiday Harbor on August 30, 2014 in Lakehead, California.
National Journal
Oct. 8, 2014, 10:11 a.m.

The California drought is so bad that…

â—† Since 2013, the Western United States has lost 240 gigatons of water, the journal Science has reported. One gigaton is 1 billion tons. 240 gigatons is equal to a 10-centimeter sheet of water covering the entire Western U.S., or 63 trillion gallons — roughly equivalent to the volume of 75,000 football stadiums.

â—† The loss of mass has altered California’s gravitational field.

â—† Mountains rose up to a half an inch as the loss of water has made the earth more springy (i.e. less dense and able to expand). 

â—† Hydroelectric power output from dams has diminished, according to the Energy Department. Usually, hydropower accounts for 20 percent of California’s energy generation. In the first half of 2014, it accounted for only 10 percent.

â—† 100 percent of the state is in drought, with 82 percent of the land designated as in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the highest levels on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale. Thirty-seven million people are affected by the drought.

â—† It’s the state’s worst drought since 1895, when such record keeping began.

â—† California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in January

â—† Earlier this year 40,000 people in rural communities were in danger of running out of water. The Los Angeles Times reports that 14 communities are on the brink of waterlessness. According to The New York Times, 700 households in the state now have no access to running water.

â—† According to the National Science Foundation, this year the state’s agricultural economy stands to lose $2.2 billion and 17,000 seasonal jobs. 

â—† California’s honey crop has been dramatically crippled. In 2010, the state was producing 27.5 million pounds of the sticky stuff. In 2013, it produced 10.9 million pounds. 

â—† Irrigation costs for farmers in the state’s Central Valley have increased tenfold.

â—† You can see the loss of snow in the state’s mountain region from space.

â—† The California swimming-pool industry is scared.

â—† Recycled toilet water is starting to look appealing.

â—† People are spray-painting brown lawns green.

â—† The organic dairy industry is in trouble.

â—† California wineries are harvesting smaller, more concentrated grapes for a standout wine season. (This is one of a very few positives.)

What We're Following See More »
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING
McConnell Promises a Vote This Week
16 hours ago
THE LATEST
APPEARED ON COLBERT
Gillibrand Announces Exploratory Committee
1 days ago
THE DETAILS
TOURING IOWA
Sherrod Brown Also in 2020 Mode
1 days ago
THE LATEST
FIRST KNOWN INCIDENT OF TRUMP DIRECTLY REQUESTING A COVER-UP
Report: Trump Told Cohen to Lie to Congress
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. 'Make it happen,' the sources said Trump told Cohen."

Source:
OFFICE WILL BE BASED IN BALTIMORE
Kamala Harris Announces for President
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login