Intensifying California drought sets off alarms

A warning buoy sits on the drying bed of Folsom Lake, near Folsom, Calif., Nov. 17, 2014. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, AP)

Drought conditions in California are now setting of Alarms as a new report indicates that as California’s epic drought continues with no end in sight, it is setting off new alarms about unprecedented water shortages, increased wildfire threats, fewer crops and farmers, higher electric bills and huge economic losses for years — or even decades — to come. “Even if normal precipitation begins to fall, it will take a few years to overcome the massive deficits we’ve been running,” said scientist Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a research organization in Oakland. California and much of the West must cope with the consequences of a drought predicted to intensify in coming months. The negative impact is sure to deepen. Scientists predict megadroughts will set in by mid-century. “It often seems impossible to imagine, but tap water shortages are a distinct possibility if mitigation efforts aren’t embraced and droughts become more frequent and intense in the coming years,” said meteorologist Steve Bowen of Aon Benfield, a global reinsurance firm. California has about one year of water left in its reservoirs, and mandatory rationing should begin now, NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti said last week, the Associated Press reported. FULL REPORT