Drought Over? Depends...on where you live

by Placerville Newswire / Dec 20, 2016 / comments

The impacts of California’s historic six-year drought have been devastating, but just how devastating depends on which region of the state you call home.

Over the past two months, California water officials have seen vast improvements in the northern part of the state, with precipitation levels in the northern Sierra 180% of average and rainfall measuring 23.5 inches. But in Southern California, it’s a different story. A recent storm notwithstanding, much of the region is still bone-dry. That’s a major problem, since the Southland still acquires 50% of its water supply from local sources.

“California is a big place. It has different droughts in different parts,” said Jay Lund, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis. “We certainly saw that last year … and we’re likely to see that again.” In addition, Lund said, moving surplus water south across the delta has been a struggle, resulting in limited benefits.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 27% of the state is no longer under a drought. But all those areas are concentrated in the norther portion of California. In Southern and Central California, from Orange County to Tulare, “exceptional” drought conditions abound. The region needs a few more storms like Thursday’s to help alleviate that.