NASA scientists say it would require 11 trillion gallons of water – more water than California’s 38 million residents use each year for domestic purposes – to relieve the state’s record drought, currently in its third year.
A team of NASA scientists, using the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, discovered that the state’s Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins were 11 trillion gallons (41.6 trillion liters) below normal seasonal levels. The researchers say that since the launch of GRACE in 2002 water levels have steadily dropped.
Californians use an average of 181 gallons of water each day, a state total of around 2.5 trillion gallons a year, according to data from the UGSC website.
But the bad news for Californians looking for a reprieve from the worst drought in centuries doesn’t end there. NASA said the satellite images show the Sierra Nevada range snowpack is half the amount of past estimates.