NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, which monitor changes in the earth’s gravitational field, have been used to measure changes in groundwater in California and the western U.S. from the edge of space–and the results, showing massive depletion over the past decade, are causing alarm.
The images released by NASA and reproduced by the Los Angeles Times show a dramatic draw-down of groundwater supplies across the state, particularly in the Central Valley, where farmers have turned to groundwater as an alternative to irrigated sources that are being withheld or diverted by the government.
According to NASA, California’s agricultural use of groundwater amounts to some 4 trillion gallons a year–more than all urban and residential use. The result is that while the state is currently weathering this round of severe drought, it may not have reserves upon which to depend in the future, which could see more dry seasons.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak