Published: February 9, 2018

    Drought Returns to California

    In April of 2017, California governor Jerry Brown ended the state’s drought emergency after years of water-cutting measures. Low snowfall, limited rain, and record-setting temperatures suggest that any relief the state enjoyed as a result may have been short lived.

    According to a report by the U.S. Drought Monitor on February 1st, 2018, forty-four percent of the state is currently experiencing moderate drought conditions, with five percent of the state in severe drought. Southern counties are worst hit, including Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles, which are home to a quarter of the state’s population.

    Dry Winter and High Temperatures Fueling New Drought

    Winter rainfall has been limited over the last few months. Indeed, Los Angeles and surrounding areas received only one significant storm over the last year. That storm triggered widespread and deadly mudslides, leaving many residents leery of future rain even as they understand the need for it.

    Up in the Sierra Nevada, the snowpack is at less than twenty-seven percent of its average depth. Snowpack accumulations usually supply millions of Californians with water. Record-setting high temperatures throughout the state are only adding to concerns.

    Whether or not California is experiencing a new drought or merely a continuation of the last one is debatable. For some counties in the southern part of the state, the drought never really left, as Daniel Swain, climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, notes.

    Reservoirs Higher Than Normal

    The news isn’t all bad, however. The Department of Water Resources reports state reservoirs are at higher than normal levels due to rain in the northern portion of the state. There’s also two months left in the year’s peak rainfall and snowfall period, so the situation may yet change.

    If the drought persists, Californians will find themselves once more practicing personal water conservation. The state has yet to enact water-cutting measures, and any decision to do so rests with Governor Brown.

    Many Californians are choosing to save water by switching out their old salt-based softener technology and RO systems with water softener alternatives. Salt-based softeners waste thousands of gallons of water per year and discharge salt brine back in to the water supply, making it not only a water-waster but also harmful for the environment. Consider switching to a water softener alternative with a carbon filter system that provides safer, cleaner drinking and bathing water for your whole home that does not waste water and uses no electricity, making it an eco-friendly option.

    The last drought saw Californians doing every from fixing leaking faucets to reseeding lawns with drought-resistant seeds. Unless the state sees a sudden increase in rainfall, it may be time to accept that life in California means living in an arid environment and making permanent changes to water use.