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California Needs 11 Trillion Gallons Of Water To End Drought

UC Irvine

California needs one and a half times the maximum volume of water in Lake Mead, the largest US reservoir, to end its drought. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, NASA scientists released the finding today.

For the first time, scientists used data from satellites to calculate what it takes to end a drought. For California, it’s a sobering statistic…11 trillion gallons or about 30 million acre feet. The finding was released at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Water scientist Jay Famiglietti with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the new research can be used to inform water management decisions in the state. 

Famiglietti:“We have a target that we can shoot for now the next step is to really work on quantifying when it rains a certain amount how much of that can actually end up in storage.”

NASA scientists also released an equally grim picture of the amount of water in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in early 2014. The Airborne Snow Observatory found that it was only half of previous estimates and the worst since 1977. 

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