Trillions of gallons of water lost in Calif. drought

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click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map of California released on Aug. 21, 2014. According to the latest Drought Monitor report, 82 percent of California is in extreme or worse drought, marking the eighth consecutive month with more than 30 percent of the state reported in these conditions.

Even so, the Drought Monitor showed a minimal shift in conditions this week with around 2 percent of the state moving from severe to moderate drought. This improvement was seen in the severe southeastern corner of California.

The site XKCD made an impressive graph to demonstrate just how intense the drought in California has become, using the state itself as the graph’s axis:

click image to zoomXKCD

As more and more of the state dries, the parched ground is rising by just a few millimeters. Monitoring stations used to study earthquakes are able to measure these minute movements. Data from these stations suggests that California and other western states are missing some 62 trillion gallons of water, according to this report from the Smithsonian.

That’s enough water to cover the entire region six inches. Click here to read more about the study behind this look at the drought.

Californians and others in western states better get used to it. The National Weather Service’s Seasonal Drought Outlook was updated Thursday and forecast drought improvement or even removal for the nation’s breadbasket – even hard-hit Texas. For the majority of the dry West, however, the drought is expect to persist or intensify through the end of November.

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ca  |  August, 22, 2014 at 03:54 PM

While we are in drought in CA if you look over the last ten years we are about average. In addition, when i first came to CA in the 60's the avg rainfall for LA was approx 13 inches. Now it is 15 inches. That tells us that in the last 40 years we have had above average rainfall. Finally there was a recent report that the 7 billion dollars that voters approved almost a decade ago for increasing water storage has not resulted in any increased storage. Is this drought a political tool? Absolutely.

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