Folsom Lake reservoir has dropped to 18% capacity as an unseasonably dry winter in California stokes fears of a severe drought.
Photo by Max Whittaker for The New York Times/Redux

NASA scientist: California has one year of water left

California Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a $1 billion emergency relief plan to deal with California’s water shortage caused by four years of drought conditions.

This comes just as new predictions about the state’s water supply are painting a dire picture. In an op-ed published in the LA Times last week, Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA, predicted the state is nearing the bottom of its water storage.

“We have a year of surface water. After that, we’ll rely more heavily on underground water,” Famiglietti told José Díaz-Balart on msnbc Thursday.

Famiglietti explained that, currently, about 80% of the water used by the state comes from the ground, meaning that once the surface water disappears, California will rely entirely on ground water to supply its 320 million residents–a problem because ground water is not easily replaceable.

Last November, voters in California approved the state legislature’s $7.5 million water bond measure for water and flood projects to try to tackle the state’s drought.

MSNBC Live with José Díaz-Balart, 3/19/15, 9:47 AM ET

NASA scientist: California has one year of water left

As record drought conditions continue in California, new predictions estimate the state will use up its water supply within a year. Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA, discusses the dire situation affecting the nation’s most populous state.

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NASA scientist: California has one year of water left