Water Wanes in the West

17:32 minutes

While announcing the first-ever mandatory water restrictions in California’s history on April 1, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown stated: “It’s a different world.”

A different and drier California, indeed. Measurements from NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) found that the Tuolumne River Basin, in California’s Sierra Nevada, has only 40 percent of the water it did last year, which was California’s second driest year on record.

California’s drought is part of a larger picture in the Western United States, where water is an ever-precious resource. We hear from Tom Painter, principal investigator for ASO, and B. Lynn Ingram, author of The West Without Water, about whether drought is the new normal.

Segment Guests

Tom Painter

Tom Painter is principal investigator for the Airborne Snow Observatory at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

B. Lynn Ingram

B. Lynn Ingram is the author of The West Without Water (University of California Press, 2013) and an earth and planetary science professor at University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California.

Mike Markus

Mike Markus is general manager of the Orange County Water District in Fountain Valley, California.

Meet the Producer

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.