California Is Turning Back Into A Desert And There Are No Contingency Plans

Drought-Public-Domain-300x204Once upon a time, much of the state of California was a barren desert.  And now, thanks to the worst drought in modern American history, much of the state is turning back into one.  Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century that the state of California had seen in 1000 years.  But now weather patterns are reverting back to historical norms, and California is rapidly running out of water.  It is being reported that the state only has approximately a one year supply of water left in the reservoirs, and when the water is all gone there are no contingency plans.  Back in early 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the entire state, but since that time water usage has only dropped by 9 percent.  That is not nearly enough.  The state of California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of total water a year since 2011, and we are quickly heading toward an extremely painful water crisis unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

But don’t take my word for it.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti “is the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine”.  What he has to say about the horrific drought in California is extremely sobering…

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.

Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.

Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

Are you starting to understand why so many experts are so alarmed?

For much more from Famiglietti, check out this 60 Minutes interview.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, essentially the entire state is suffering drought conditions right now.  And as you can see from the map below, most of the state is currently experiencing either the highest or the second-highest classification of drought…

US Drought Monitor California 2015

Nearly 40 million people live in the state of California at the moment.

What are they all going to do when the water is gone?

In some rural areas, reservoirs are already nearly bone dry.  And in other areas, the water quality has gone way down.  For example, in one Southern California neighborhood black water is now coming out of the taps…

Residents of a Southern California neighborhood are concerned about the fact that the water flowing out of the taps in their homes is the color black. That’s right; the water coming out of their faucets is indeed black — not gray, not cloudy — but black. Inky, opaque black water that the water company says is okay to drink.

Those who live in Gardena, California, are understandably skeptical when asked to consume water that strongly resembles crude oil or something emitted by a squid. The water reportedly also has an “odor of rotten eggs or sewer smell,” according to one resident.

Perhaps you don’t care about what happens to California.

Perhaps you believe that they are just getting what they deserve.

And you might be right about that.

But the truth is that this is a crisis for all of us, because an enormous amount of our fresh produce is grown in the state.

As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is very heavily dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  The following numbers represent California’s contribution to our overall production…

99 percent of the artichokes

44 percent of asparagus

two-thirds of carrots

half of bell peppers

89 percent of cauliflower

94 percent of broccoli

95 percent of celery

90 percent of the leaf lettuce

83 percent of Romaine lettuce

83 percent of fresh spinach

a third of the fresh tomatoes

86 percent of lemons

90 percent of avocados

84 percent of peaches

88 percent of fresh strawberries

97 percent of fresh plums

Without the agricultural production of the state of California, we are in a massive amount of trouble.

And of course there are other areas all over the globe that are going through similar things.  For instance, taps in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are running dry as Brazil experiences the worst drought that it has seen in 80 years.

The world simply does not have enough fresh water left at this point, and that is why water is being called “the new oil”.  The following comes from CBS News…

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

And if scientists are right, what we are experiencing right now may just be the very beginning of our problems.  In fact, one team of researchers has concluded that the Southwestern United States is headed for a “megadrought” that could last for decades…

Scientists had already found that the Southwestern United States were at great risk of experiencing a significant megadrought (in this case meaning drought conditions that last for over 35 years) before the end of the 21st century. But a new study published in Science Advancesadded some grim context to those predictions.

Columbia University climate scientists Jason Smerdon and Benjamin Cook, and Cornell University’s Toby Ault were co-authors on the study. They took data from tree rings and other environmental records of climate from the Southwest and compared them to the projections of 17 different climate models that look at precipitation and soil moisture. When they made the comparison between past and future, they found that all the models agreed: the next big megadrought is coming, and it will be way worse than anything we’ve seen in over 1,000 years–including droughts that have been credited with wiping out civilizations.

Needless to say, along with any water crisis comes a food crisis.

Virtually everything that we eat requires a tremendous amount of water to grow.  And at this point, the world is already eating more food than it produces most years.

So what is going to happen to us as this water crisis gets even worse?

The Drought Apocalypse Approaches As The Colorado River Basin Dries Up

Scientists on Thursday released a first-of-its-kind study that finds the seven states of the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin are depleting groundwater reserves at a rapid rate. That threatens the future of a river that supplies water to 40 million people and irrigates 4 million acres of farmland.

Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, and NASA analyzed data from a satellite that measures underground water reserves to calculate that the Colorado River Basin has lost 65 cubic kilometers—that’s 17.3 trillion gallons—of water between December 2004 and November 2013. That represents twice the capacity of the United States’ largest reservoir, Lake Mead in Nevada. Most worrying, 75 percent of the loss came from groundwater supplies.

“We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out,” Stephanie Castle, the report’s lead author and a water resources specialist at UC Irvine, said in a statement. “This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking.”

Terrifying, actually. Groundwater reserves have accumulated over thousands of years and recharge at an exceedingly slow rate as rainwater and snowmelt seep into the ground. Rain is rare as the current drought enters its 15th year.

The data indicates that farmers and cities are pumping far more groundwater than can be replenished. At some point, the well will run dry.

“We observe a negative net change in groundwater storage over the 108-month time period [of the study], indicating that groundwater withdrawals (pumping) are not balanced by recharge and must be greater than the observed depletion rate,” Castle said in an email.

Once the seven states of the Colorado River Basin—Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming—deplete their groundwater reserves beyond the point of no return, they will run out of options. Usually, the states rely on aboveground reservoirs like Lake Mead to help them weather dry years. But the water level at Lake Mead has fallen to a historic low, and other reservoirs are drying up fast.

It will get worse, especially as the region grows hotter because of climate change.

“The rapid rates of groundwater depletion will lead to further declines in Colorado River steam flows and, combined with declining snowpack and population growth, will likely threaten the long-term ability” to supply water to the seven states, said Castle.

With less water flowing into reservoirs, the states will keep pumping irreplaceable groundwater reserves. That “poses a significant threat to the long-term water security of the region,” concluded the report, which is to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

So what to do? First, fill in the data gap to figure out exactly how much water is left so decisions can be made about its management for the future. That’s where the satellite program called Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment comes in. The satellite measures tiny changes in an area’s gravitational pull to determine its groundwater capacity.

“There’s only one way to put together a very large–area study like this, and that is with satellites,” Jay Famiglietti,  a coauthor of the report and a senior water cycle scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement.

National Guard Prepares For ‘An Event’ At Yellowstone National Park

If there is one part of the United States that truly has the potential for a doomsday scenario, it is easily Yellowstone National Park. Despite the fact hundreds of people visit the national park each day — probably to see all the geysers, hot springs and wildlife the park is famous for — what they don’t realize is that the park is sitting on one the largest active volcano in the world. That alone should be frightening!

As a matter of fact, we here at The Inquisitr reported numerous times on Yellowstone National Park or the conspiracy theory it is about ready to erupt. This includes articles that animals are escaping the park and that the USGS is hiding information about the park’s earthquake fissures. But everything should be all right because the bison aren’t leaving the park, so that means there is no issue, right?

Now another video has come to light on the internet showing that the National Guard is preparing for a Yellowstone National Park event, quite possibly the supervolcano eruption.

Uploaded by Tom Lupshu on his YouTube channel, the majority of the video is him talking about the upcoming eruption or the possibility of an upcoming eruption. It is very frightening how he makes it sound, and as the video comes to an end, it almost comes off as a conspiracy theory with no proof… until the very end shows the leaked video feed of the National Guard preparing for the monumental event. The cut is very short, but it shows a man who is probably in charge talking about how the ash is really heavy and comes in like a dense fog.

volcano-eruption

Another fringe websiteBefore It’s News, followed up on Tom Lupshu’s video, explaining what would be needed if the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park were to erupt. The magnitude and strength of the volcano would require people to stock up on as much non-perishable food and clean water as well as have weaponry for hunting and defense.

If this video is real, let’s hope this is nothing more than a training exercise for the possibility of a catastrophic event instead of quick preparation for a predicted event in the near future. After all, most Americans would prefer to visit scenic Yellowstone to see the bison and the geysers. Preparing for the end of life as we know it is probably not high on most folk’s bucket list.

[Image Via Columbia Pictures and National Geographic]

7 States Running Out Of Water

In seven states drought conditions were so severe that each had more than half of its land area in severe drought. Severe drought is characterized by crop loss, frequent water shortages, and mandatory water use restrictions.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meteorologist Brad Rippey, said that drought has been a long-running issue in parts of the country. “This drought has dragged on for three and a half years in some areas, particularly [in] North Texas,” Rippey said.

While large portions of the seven states suffer from severe drought, in some parts of these states drought conditions are even worse. In six of the seven states with the highest levels of drought, more than 30% of each state was in extreme drought as of last week, a more severe level of drought characterized by major crop and pasture losses, as well as widespread water shortages. Additionally, in California and Oklahoma, 25% and 30% of the states, respectively, suffered from exceptional drought, the highest severity classification. Under exceptional drought, crop and pasture loss is widespread, and shortages of well and reservoir water can lead to water emergencies.

Drought has had a major impact on important crops such as winter wheat. “So much of the winter wheat is grown across the southern half of the Great Plains,” Rippey said, an area that includes Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, three of the hardest-hit states. Texas alone had nearly a quarter of a million farms in 2012, the most out of any state, while neighboring Oklahoma had more than 80,000 farms, trailing only three other states.

In the Southwest, concerns are less-focused on agriculture and more on reservoir levels, explained Rippey. In Arizona, reservoir levels were just two-thirds of their usual average. Worse still, in New Mexico, reservoir stores were only slightly more than half of their normal levels. “And Nevada is the worst of all. We see storage there at about a third of what you would expect,” Rippey said.

The situation in California may well be the most problematic of any state. The entire state was suffering from severe drought as of last week, and 75% of all land area was under extreme drought. “Reservoirs which are generally fed by the Sierra Nevadas and the southern Cascades [are] where we see the real problems,” Rippey said. Restrictions on agricultural water use has forced many California farmers to leave fields fallow, he added. “At [the current] usage rate, California has less than two years of water remaining.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the seven states with the highest proportions of total area classified in at least a state of severe drought as of May 13, 2014. We also reviewed figures recently published by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service as part of its 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Source of Fukushima’s nagging radioactive leak finally discovered – TEPCO

Fukushima-Leak-discovered

The source of the radioactive leak at the earthquake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was finally identified by the facility’s operator TEPCO

It was in January when the crew of the plant first noticed that water was leaking through to the drain on the first level of the building housing the reactor.

Engineers probed the space with a camera and found the water leakage to be near a pipe joint that connects directly to the containment vessel.

There is still water inside the containment vessel due to the ongoing flow of the coolant used to keep the stricken reactor’s temperature down.

The most likely scenario is that there’s more water in the vessel than there is in the area where the pipes enter it, the Tokyo Electric Power Company believes.

Before engineers can start decommissioning reactors 1, 2 and 3, which suffered meltdowns, they have to deal with the leakage. The coolant water comes out the other end mixed with radioactive waste. While it is possible to remove the radioactive fuel at this time, TEPCO wants to first plug the leak and fill up the space with more water as an additional measure against radiation.

TEPCO is at present trying to figure out the best strategy for plugging the leak.

The news comes just as the facility’s operator has ensured that the groundwater leakage issue (another problem) can also be solved by simply letting the water leak into the Pacific, instead of the cumbersome process of finding ways to store it, or block it from seeping into the ocean. The operation might take place by Wednesday next week.

To ensure that the water is indeed safe for release, TEPCO’s findings had to be backed up by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Japan Chemical Analysis Center. What they found was that the feared presence of strontium-90 and cesium-134 and -137 was way below the health hazard threshold.

TEPCO is currently in talks with local authorities about releasing the groundwater. About 560 tons is to be released in the first round, which will only take about two hours, according to an official with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
But the water buildup continues, and the short-term storage tanks that TEPCO has been relying on in the past are no longer a solution, so the operator is to set up a bypass system to prevent further buildup of the other, highly radioactive groundwater.

As for the load, that’s passed the safety test, local communities have been notified and an agreement was reached on releasing it into the Pacific Ocean as soon as possible.

Half of US Is In Drought

Half of the United States is experiencing drought, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. National Drought Monitor.

The drought is deepest in California and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, according to the latest drought map, released May 8. Most of California is in extreme or exceptional drought, and triple-digit heat was returning to Texas and Oklahoma, according to Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center, who penned a report on recent drought conditions. “This is not the recipe for recovery as the calendar pushes toward summer,” Svoboda wrote of the heat in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. “What winter wheat wasn’t damaged or killed off by recent hard freezes was left to bear the brunt of the heat and dryness this week, with little in the way of relief on the horizon.” The U.S. drought is concentrated in the Plains states and in the West, though Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Appalachians stretching from West Virginia into eastern Tennessee are all experiencing abnormal dryness. California has been in a state of drought for three years, and officials declared a state of emergency over the extreme lack of water in January. The final snow survey of the year, released May 1, revealed that the state’s snowpack is at only 18 percent of average for that date. The northern Sierra Nevadas were particularly hard hit, with only 7 percent of water content in the snowpack compared with the average. This Thursday, March 13, 2014 file photo shows cracks in the dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir … Even worse, a survey from April 1, when snowpack moisture is at its peak, found only 32 percent of the water content compared with historical averages, according to California’s Department of Water Resources. As of April 25, the entire state of California was in some level of drought for the first time in the Drought Monitor’s 15-year history. Meanwhile, the state’s reservoirs are only at about half capacity, the Department of Water Resources warned, and the rainy season is largely over. New normal? Western droughts are part of the normal up-and-down of the landscape, but climate researchers warn that a parched West is likely to become more common as the globe warms. High temperatures make typical droughts worse, climate scientists say, and droughts have become more intense and longer in tropical and subtropical areas of the globe in the past 40 years. These changes threaten water supplies out West. They could also bring other nasty side effects, such as worsening wildfires. Western wildfires have become larger and more frequent in the last three decades, according to a study published online April 4 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “Most of these trends show strong correlations with drought-related conditions, which, to a large degree, agree with what we expect from climate change projections,” Max Moritz, a study co-author and fire specialist at the University of California-Berkeley Cooperative Extension, told Live Science at the time.

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Ongoing drought The U.S. drought is concentrated in the Plains states and in the West, though Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Appalachians stretching from West Virginia into eastern Tennessee are all experiencing abnormal dryness. California has been in a state of drought for three years, and officials declared a state of emergency over the extreme lack of water in January. The final snow survey of the year, released May 1, revealed that the state’s snowpack is at only 18 percent of average for that date. The northern Sierra Nevadas were particularly hard hit, with only 7 percent of water content in the snowpack compared with the average.

Even worse, a survey from April 1, when snowpack moisture is at its peak, found only 32 percent of the water content compared with historical averages, according to California’s Department of Water Resources. As of April 25, the entire state of California was in some level of drought for the first time in the Drought Monitor’s 15-year history. Meanwhile, the state’s reservoirs are only at about half capacity, the Department of Water Resources warned, and the rainy season is largely over. New normal? Western droughts are part of the normal up-and-down of the landscape, but climate researchers warn that a parched West is likely to become more common as the globe warms. High temperatures make typical droughts worse, climate scientists say, and droughts have become more intense and longer in tropical and subtropical areas of the globe in the past 40 years. These changes threaten water supplies out West. They could also bring other nasty side effects, such as worsening wildfires. Western wildfires have become larger and more frequent in the last three decades, according to a study published online April 4 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “Most of these trends show strong correlations with drought-related conditions, which, to a large degree, agree with what we expect from climate change projections,” Max Moritz, a study co-author and fire specialist at the University of California-Berkeley Cooperative Extension, told Live Science at the time.

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Grand Canyon runs low on water

Grand-Canyon-Runs-Dry-Drought

In this April 11, 2014 photo, low reservoir levels reveal tree stumps and a cracked lake bed in Williams, Ariz. Officials in Williams have declared a water crisis amid a drought that is quickly drying up nearby reservoirs and forcing the community to pump its only two wells to capacity.

In the northern Arizona city of Williams, restaurant patrons don’t automatically get a glass of water anymore. Residents caught watering lawns or washing cars with potable water can be fined. Businesses are hauling water from outside town to fill swimming pools, and building permits have been put on hold because there isn’t enough water to accommodate development.

Officials in the community about 60 miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim have clamped down on water use and declared a crisis amid a drought that is quickly drying up nearby reservoirs and forcing the city to pump its only two wells to capacity.

The situation offers a glimpse at how cities across the West are coping with a drought that has left them thirsting for water. More than a dozen rural towns in California recently emerged from emergency water restrictions that had a sheriff’s office on the lookout for water bandits at a local lake. One New Mexico town relied on bottled water for days last year. In southern Nevada, water customers are paid to remove lawns and cannot install any new grass in their front yards.

Officials in Williams jumped straight to the most severe restrictions after receiving only about 6 inches of precipitation from October to April — about half of normal levels — and a bleak forecast that doesn’t include much rain. City leaders acknowledge the move is extreme but say it’s the only way to make the city has enough water to survive.

“We knew we had to take some action to preserve the water,” Mayor John Moore said.

Reservoirs that supply residents’ taps are so low that they reveal tree stumps, plants and cracked earth once submerged by water.

Businesses are feeling the effects, too. The Grand Canyon Railway, which shuttles tourists from Williams to the national park, is using water recycled from rainfall, drained from a hotel pool and wastewater purchased in nearby Flagstaff to irrigate its landscaping and run steam engines.

Residents are praying they get some relief soon.

“I still have hope God will send us the rain,” said resident Jan Bardwell.

Communities across New Mexico also have seen their drinking water supplies dwindle in recent years due to severe drought and aging infrastructure. The town of Magdalena last summer was forced last summer to turn to bottled water after its well failed.

In the far western Texas city of El Paso, residents can’t water outdoors on Mondays. And officials have been reusing treated wastewater and investing in a major desalination plant that turns salty, unusable groundwater into a drinking source for the border city.

As Williams waits for moisture, Moore said city officials are exploring whether new wells will help secure a more sustainable water source. He said water conservation should take residents through the next couple of months until the rainy season arrives and winter returns.

In his home, Moore is taking shorter showers, flushing the toilet less often and thinking twice about dumping out water he doesn’t drink.

Other residents are using buckets to collect cold water that normally would go to waste while they wait for a hot shower, he said. Automatic shut-off devices are planned for showers at the city pool, and signs at water filling stations declare them off-limits to commercial water haulers.

Excessive water consumption could be costly under the restrictions. Residents using more than 15,000 gallons of water per month will see their bills rise by 150 percent to 200 percent. The penalty for using potable water outdoors for anything but public health or emergencies comes with a $100 surcharge that doubles for subsequent violations.

The Grand Canyon Railway poured tens of thousands of dollars into a landscape remodel last year that was watered with city taps. This year, the company had to gather that water from other sources, bringing in three rails cars to store it onsite.

It was a scenario that general manager Bob Baker didn’t see coming. “It’s drastic,” he said.

Other northern Arizona towns have less-stringent water restrictions. In Payson, residents are on a schedule for outdoor watering or washing cars. They are prohibited from putting in new grass and must choose from drought-tolerant plants for landscaping.

The goal for each person is to use no more than 89 gallons of water per day, but residents have averaged better than that at 70 to 75 gallons daily over the past decade, Mayor Kenny Evans said.

Water rates that increased decades ago allow the town to offer rebates for low-flow toilets and other water-saving devices. Payson has positioned itself well enough to extend water services to nearby communities while preaching conservation.

“We don’t have enough water to waste it,” said Evans, president of the Northern Arizona Municipal Water Users Association.

In Williams, Moore recently looked out at the reservoirs surrounding town in anticipation of a monsoon season that could help replenish them.

“We know in due time, the lakes will fill back up, the snow will come,” he said.

Little help for a million Californians on wells in historic drought

FORT BRAGG, California (Reuters) – Michael Holmes got by at his rural home near California’s rugged northern coast on a disability pension and water from a decades-old well — until the well dried up.

Holmes, 65, is among an estimated million Californians who rely on private wells, many now threatened by the state’s historic dry spell and with no direct access to a multi-million dollar state drought relief program.

“When this place was built in the 1950s, the water was three feet below the ground,” Holmes said, pointing a flashlight down the well’s long, empty shaft. “Now, the pump is down 26 feet and we’re still running out.”

These days, Holmes buys drinking water by the gallon and waits until enough water gathers to take a shower once a week.

The pump hangs an inch off the ground at the bottom of his well, and when the water comes up, it’s full of muck and minerals.

“It turns my white hair yellow,” Holmes said, tilting his head down to show.

California is still counting the number of threatened wells, in the latest sign of how the state is struggling to address and even understand the extent of the worst drought in decades.

A state report released last week showed groundwater levels in California had dropped over the past three, dry years, but focused mostly on issues faced by municipal water systems and agriculture, not well-dependent homeowners.

Governor Jerry Brown declared an emergency in January in the most populous U.S. state, requesting voluntary conservation efforts, funneling millions of dollars to farmers and municipalities, and even providing funds to help farm workers idled by the drought buy food and pay rent.

In a state where the lack of water for irrigation threatens a half-million acres of farmland, and a rapidly shrinking snow pack means less drinking water for nearly 40 million people, help was rushed to those who live within the boundaries of even the smallest municipal water districts.

Even fish got help. As river waters receded, the state trucked 30 million hatchling salmon, a record, to ease their annual migration.

The $687 million drought relief package of grants, loans and other financial assistance programs to fund solutions such as water storage and recycling projects, anti-contamination efforts and emergency water supplies, was aimed at communities in need.

But the relief plan did not include funds targeted at helping those relying on private wells to dig deeper or make other improvements.

They are not considered part of the public delivery system, and finding relief for them is more complicated, said Debbie Davis, the governor’s drought liaison to counties.

Oversight of water systems in California is limited and fractured.

Counties are responsible for oversight of private wells, she added, and it wasn’t until homeowners started calling a drought hotline in Mendocino County seeking help that state officials realized there was an extensive problem.

“For the most part, domestic well users are expected to be responsible for their own resource,” said Davis, who estimated a million people depended on wells. A working group is tracking down well owners and assessing needs, said California Natural Resources Agency spokesman Richard Stapler.

About 10 miles south of Holmes’s home in Ft. Bragg, many wells are going dry in the tiny beachside village of Mendocino, whose 900 residents rely entirely on private wells, said Roger Schwartz, president of the village’s tiny water district.

One woman in Mendocino County called the drought hotline to say she needed water to bathe her disabled husband, who was incontinent, said Brandon Merritt, a county analyst. Another family said it could not afford the $350 a private dealer was charging for a month-long supply of water.

Schwartz, of the Mendocino Community Services District, has pushed the state to offer grants or loans to help residents purchase water or dig deeper wells.

But Davis said the state will focus first on helping those who can be hooked up to existing water systems.

Such efforts would likely not help Arthur “Mark” Fontaine and his wife Ellen. They estimate it would cost $20,000 to improve the well that serves their property, which lies four miles from the nearest town and is likely too far away to be hooked up to municipal water.

Since October, they have been buying water from a broker.

“We’ve always had to conserve here,” said Ellen Fontaine, who grew up on the property, about 24 miles from Willits. “But I have not been able to do laundry here for almost two months.”

Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Solomon Islands: USGS

Sydney (AFP) – A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off the Solomon Islands on Sunday night, hours after a 7.6 tremor, the US Geological Survey said.

A tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, but it later cancelled the alert for all three areas.

The USGS said the quake — which it had initially assessed at 7.7 — occurred at 11:36pm local time (1236 GMT) at a depth of 35 kilometres (22 miles), 111 kilometres south of Kirakira in the Solomon Islands.

It said the likelihood of casualties or damage was low.

A 7.6-magnitude quake had woken the residents of the Solomons capital Honiara early on Sunday.

It struck at 7:14am, about 300 kilometres from the capital, and was followed 10 minutes later by a 5.9-magnitude aftershock.

View gallery

Flood waters run past damaged homes in the Solomon …

Flood waters run past damaged homes in the Solomon Islands’ capital Honiara on April 4, 2014 (AF …

The US Geological Survey measured the undersea quake at around 29 kilometres deep.

Honiara resident Dorothy Wickham said the National Disaster Council was warning people to stay away from low-lying areas as the islands experienced high waves.

“People are moving away from the coasts and are going up into the hills, but I have not heard of any damage,” she said.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission put out a tsunami warning for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea following the Sunday morning quake, but later cancelled the alert.

The Solomons were hit by flash floods 10 days ago which left more than 20 dead. Several more are still missing in Honiara after the city’s main river burst its banks following days of heavy rain.

The Solomons are part of the “Ring of Fire”, a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

A 6.1-magnitude tremor hit the Solomons on Saturday and a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake and 6.7 aftershock struck off Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville island on Friday, to the west of the Solomons.

In February last year, the Solomon Islands were hit by a major 8.0-magnitude quake that generated small but deadly tsunami waves which washed away houses and reached as far away as Japan.

In 2007, a tsunami following an 8.0-magnitude earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless.

The quake lifted an entire island and pushed out its shoreline by dozens of metres.

Volcano Updates Worldwide

Earlier

Sci-News.com

Underwater Volcanoes Play Role in Long-Term Climate
Sci-News.com
“People have ignored seafloor volcanoes on the idea that their influence is small – but that's because they are assumed to be in a steady state, which they're not,” said Dr Maya Tolstoy of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who is ...

and more
Sat, Feb 07, 2015
Source: VOLCANOES

Seafloor Eruptions Triggered by Tides, Ice Ages
National Geographic
She found the eruptions tended to occur near “neap” tide, every two weeks, when the amount of seawater over the volcanoes is slightly lower than at other times. The reduced weight on the volcanoes apparently encourages small earthquakes, which can be ...

and more
Sat, Feb 07, 2015
Source: VOLCANOES

VICE News

Sea-Floor Volcanoes Play a Bigger Role in Earth's Climate Than Previously Thought
VICE News
Sea-floor volcanoes — eruptions at the bottom of the ocean typically thought of as slow, steady occurrences — actually pop up in bursts and play an integral role in climate variations, new research suggests. The eruptions — which create new sea ...

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Fri, Feb 06, 2015
Source: VOLCANOES

Nature World News

Underwater Volcano Flare-Ups Could Affect Climate Change
Nature World News
Underwater volcanoes are normally gentle giants, but their frequent flare-ups could affect climate change, according to new research. Triggered by short- and long-term changes in the Earth's orbit and sea levels, these volcanic flare-ups, or pulses ...

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Fri, Feb 06, 2015
Source: VOLCANOES

Scientific American

Undersea Volcanoes Erupt with Gravity, Shifting Earth's Climate
Scientific American
Below was the East Pacific Rise, a point in the ocean floor where continents move apart, causing magma contained in the Earth's core to rise to the surface and spew from underwater volcanoes. Into these depths, Tolstoy, a marine geophysicist with the ...

and more
Fri, Feb 06, 2015
Source: VOLCANOES