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Chart: The 7,000 Streams that Become the Mississippi River

Stashed in: America!, Maps!, Water!, Mississippi, Avocados!

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California wishes we had access to those rivers. 

California only has one year of water reserves remaining:


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.

As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

How the heck does California have no contingency plan?

It's not like this disaster happened overnight. 

I wonder if multinational food corporations have already enacted theirs, doing a work-around on California by buying their produce elsewhere.

I see no shortage of avocados in my grocery store, for example.

Aren't avocados grown in Florida too?

Yes, but they are not the tasty Haas variety preferred by most.

And I'm wrong.


Today I learned tasty avocados come from Florida.

Check out the tool! 

A new online tool released by the Department of the Interior this week allows users to select any major stream and trace it up to its sources or down to its watershed.

The above map, exported from the tool, highlights all the major tributaries that feed into the Mississippi River, illustrating the river’s huge catchment area of approximately 1.15 million square miles, or 37 percent of the land area of the continental U.S.

Use the tool to see where the streams around you are getting their water (and pollution).

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