The California drought has cost 2.2 billion in lost jobs this past year, used 63 trillion gallons of water and appears to be the “new normal,” according to science contributor Michio Kaku on CBS NEWS today.
Hopes for El Nino to bring rain may arrive but it may not be enough to return California to a previous environment that held flash floods over winter and spring. Mud slides were a huge concern when the warm sea water surface temperature brought El Nino and the rains. Now, the fires across the state have caused the billion plus dollars in damages.
The report, which documents the data released on CBS News, was funded by the state's Department of Food and Agriculture, as well as the California Department of Water Resources. It was made public July 13 and listed the $1.5 billion in direct agricultural costs which are comprised of $810 million in crop revenue, over $200 million in dairy and livestock.
The Central Coast's rich agricultural and ranch lands are home to the production of fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants all hold parched earth. The forecast for Central California is a 1.5 billion dollar loss annually for 2015 & 2016. This has dire consequences for all since this region is one of the most productive areas in the world.
Kaku’s report notes that California rain and water buildup in the ground was actually abnormal. Dry conditions over the new pattern are more a condition of the area in recorded history which has been determined from the study of tree rings and sediment from drought empty lakes.
The extreme dryness has caused the earth to buildup layers and push the mountains of California to raise a half inch in height during the past two years of the drought. GPS sensors measure the loss of water and find that the Earth in pumps up the Earth.
California is the only western state that does not have regulation of ground water. This is a key issue to management of the land and the impact upon the future agricultural production. Richard Howitt, a University of California, Davis professor emeritus of agriculture and resource economics, was co-author of the drought research presented to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He stated, "My message to farmers is treat groundwater like you treat your retirement account,"
The arrival of El Nino is closely anticipated and how much of a factor it will play in the weather forecast and temperature averages. The GPS sensors will record the level of soil moisture and forecast the change in the mountains and future for the farmers and ranchers of California.