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I'm a private weather industry marketing executive specializing in the strategic approach to SaaS in established and emerging markets. 

California Love

Left: Estimated rainfall over the next three days
Right: Current California drought monitor
California should get some drought-denting rainfall over the next three days thanks to a pungent storm system that will bring widespread rain and snow to the west coast and continue spreading the love as it pushes east. This will supplement rainy weather along the central Cali coast from last week that served rainfall from 1-3 inches resulting in a positive impact on reservoirs in watersheds affected. 
7+ inches of additional rain would make a huge contribution to the area.

Below ground
A true measurement of drought recovery in an area heavily dependant upon groundwater is replenishment of these important water sources.

Natural refilling of aquifers at depth is a lengthy process because groundwater moves slowly through unsaturated zones. The rate of recharge is also an important consideration. It has been estimated, for example, that if the aquifer that underlies the High Plains of Texas and New Mexico was emptied, it would take centuries to refill at the present small rate of replenishment. In contrast, a shallow aquifer in an area of substantial precipitation may be replenished almost immediately. 
California has both shallow and deep aquifers.
Effect
  • A multi-agency research project led by NOAA estimated that peak summer acreage of farmland idled in California in 2014 was 1.7 million acres, almost 700,000 acres more than in 2011, a recent wet year.
  • California's groundwater provides between 30 and 46 percent of the State's total water supply, depending on wet or dry years, and serves as a critical buffer against drought. 
  • Some communities in California are 100% reliant upon groundwater for urban and agricultural use.

Where's it going?
In 2010, Californians withdrew an estimated total of 38 billion gallons of water per day, compared with 46 billion gallons per day in 2005.
Red: levels that have fallen 50'+  past 10yrs
  • Surface water withdrawals in California were 25 billion gallons per day (67%), compared with 35 billion gallons per day (76%) in 2005.
  • Groundwater withdrawals accounted for 13 billion gallons per day (33%), compared with 11 billion gallons per day (24%) in 2005.
  • About 82% of all California water withdrawals were from fresh-water sources, compared with 72% in 2005.
  • In both 2005 and 2010, about 74% of all freshwater withdrawals were for irrigation.
  • 95% of all saline water withdrawals were for thermoelectric power generation, compared with 98% in 2005.

How is it used?
38 billion gallons of water withdrawals per day were distributed among 8 categories (2005 numbers):
  • Irrigation: 60.7% (23,056 million gallons per day)
  • Thermoelectric power generation: 17.4% (6,601 million gallons per day)
  • Public supply: 16.6% (6,307 million gallons per day). Average daily gross per capita use was 181 gallons (total Public Supply withdrawals divided by population served).
  • Aquaculture: 2.6% (973 million gallons per day)
  • Industrial: 1.0% (400 million gallons per day)
  • Mining: 0.7% (272 million gallons per day)
  • Livestock: 0.5% (188 million gallons per day)
  • Self-supply domestic: 0.5% (172 million gallons per day). Average daily per capita use was 69 gallons.

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