LOS ANGELES, CA — Though a series of rainstorms are expected to wash over California from Crescent City to Chula Vista this week, there is little chance of lifting the Golden State out of drought.
The bone dry conditions could mean another round of water conservation mandates and catastrophic wildfires for California.
“Over the last two years, we slipped back into drought. We need a lot of rain and not just all at once. We need it over time,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Wofford. “At this point, the likelihood of making up significant ground is low.”
California’s rainy season is nearing its end after another “critically dry year,” according to the state Department of Water Resources. The water levels at the state’s reservoirs are particularly worrying. After two years of below-average rainfall, the state’s water reservoirs are between 38 and 68 percent capacity, and the state’s overall snowpack was at 61 percent of the March average.
“As California closes out the fifth consecutive dry month of our water year, absent a series of strong storms in March or April we are going to end with a critically dry year on the heels of last year’s dry conditions,” said Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth. “With back-to-back dry years, water efficiency and drought preparedness are more important than ever for communities, agriculture and the environment.”
More than 90 percent of the state is officially in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and more than 99 percent of the state is abnormally dry. Northern California and inland Southern California are the hardest hit with several counties already enduring extreme drought conditions.
The cycle of drought and wildfires followed by rain and mudslides has increasingly become the norm for California this century. For now, Californians appear to be headed for another year of brown lawns and creative measures for conserving water.
“As dry conditions continue to persist, Californians should look at ways to reduce water use at home,” warned the Department of Water Resources. “Each individual act of increasing water efficiency can make a difference.”