Drought Continues to Worsen in California and Western States
July 11, 2014 • 10:20AM

Last week's forecasts that California had two years before it would run out of water, have been challenged by Prof. Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who wrote yesterday in the Los Angeles Times that California has only 12-18 months of water in storage—a most dramatic revision of even last week's reports.

The U.S. Drought Monitor of July 6 classifies 80 percent of California as in "extreme drought" or "exceptional drought." The "exceptional drought" share is now at 36 percent, up from 33 percent just last week.

The drought is spreading northward. Parts of Oregon have reached the "severe drought" category. Nearly 20 percent of Washington State is in severe drought, and most of the rest of Eastern Washington is classified as being moderate drought. On July 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated nine Pacific Northwest countries as disaster areas due to drought: 5 in Idaho; 2 in Oregon, and 2 in Washington State.

In Alaska, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported July 5 that an unspecified military site experienced drought conditions that led to wildfires.

On June 15, the Los Angeles Times reported that two recent letters from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management state that unless something changes, grazing on the 154 million acres of Federal land is over. The letters report that Idaho can no longer sustain livestock.

Meanwhile, Obama-supported pot legalization has allowed pot growers to use 156,000 gallons of water daily from a tributary of the Eel River in Mendocino County, California.