For the first time in 15 years, every part of California is in some level of drought. The south-central part of the state is seeing the worst of the drought, but most of California is under a significant drought. Slight portions of south-west California were the last to enter the drought.
More than three-quarters of the state is experiencing extreme drought conditions with the other quarter seeing “exceptional” drought. If you take a look back at California’s drought conditions this time last year, no part of the state was seeing extreme or exceptional drought conditions. Only 30% of the state in the spring 2013 were in the severe category according to a drought assessment released by the National Climatic Data Center yesterday.
The severity of the drought underscores the need for conservation in large parts of California. So far, many communities have issued voluntary conservation measures. More needs to be done to combat the growing water shortages in the state.
Santa Cruz, for example, is mandating a 25% cut in water usage for its customers. Failure to comply will result in major fines. It’s the first time the city has instituted such measures since the late 80s.
Some cities are in even more dire straights. Montague, a city located in north-central California, “risks running out of drinking water by the end of summer and has requested that all outside watering be curtailed until further notice.”
Warmer than normal temperatures in recent weeks have already melted significant portions of the snowpack. The melting snowpack’s impact on reservoirs was negligible according to NOAA.
If you live in areas of California calling for water conservation, do what you can to conserve water. The drought doesn’t look like it will be lifting anytime soon. The wet season, which just ended, wasn’t particularly wet outside of a handful of storm systems. Most of which, impacted north California.