Australia is no stranger to drought, or predictions of long-term drying. It's possible early settlers in both Australia and California simply lucked out on a long cyclical wet period, to be followed by much worse.
Scientists in North America have discovered past droughts in the southwest, including California, lasted hundreds of years. Is this the start of the big one?
Rainstorms finally arrived in California, after a 14 month drought with no significant rain. But the large reservoirs are still pitifully low, and snow pack is less than a quarter of normal. Hundreds of thousands of acres will not be planted. Food bills will likely go up in North America, and possibly around the world.
This is the Radio Ecoshock special on the California drought, as a case study of what we can expect in many parts of the Earth. I've lined up 4 experts all with something new for you.
Dr. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute is a climate and water specialist who has been warning this could happen for years.
Dr. Reagan Waskom is another water and agriculture expert from the University of Colorado. Colorado supplies the water to southern California.
We connect with boots-on-the ground water conservation specialist David Schroeder in Montclair, right on the edge of thirsty Los Angeles.
Finally, we get back to the big picture, as Professor Jay Famiglietti at the University of California Irvine warns of depletion of the ground water under one of the world's biggest food producing areas. That's a trend all over the world, as we race toward peak water.
Could the same satellite measuring tech, (the twin GRACE satellites) also measure groundwater depletion in Australia? Famiglietti tells us the depletion picture is much worse in India and China. Sometime in the next 50 years, the pumps will run dry all over the world. What then?
Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock show here: