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Is California Heading Toward Another Drought?

Environment July 26, 2018
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Lindsay Cutler

As temperatures climb into the triple digits in California and wildfires break out in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara County, signs shift toward worsening drought conditions in California — only a year after the official end of a historic four-year drought. According to the US Drought Monitor, over 85 percent of the state is “abnormally dry” or experiencing varying levels of drought severity, from moderate to severe.


The current dry spell comes on the heels of one of the worst droughts in California’s recorded history, from 2012 through 2016. In 2015, Gov. Brown declared it a State of Emergency and imposed strict water conservation measures statewide which aimed to reduce urban water use by 25 percent. In many cases, it stopped water supply to farmlands in central and Northern California. However, an exceptionally rainy winter restored California and by the spring of 2017, over 75 percent of California was out of the drought.

Although an abundance of rainstorms in March of this year boosted California’s reservoirs and added to the water supply, the historically low snowpack and high record temperatures point toward another potential drought year.

California residents can do their part to help conserve water and curb excessive usage at home with a leak detection system like Flo. Set water-saving conservation goals, track water usage, and see which fixtures impact your usage the most.

For more perspective on how the latest drought compares with other historic significant droughts in California’s history, see interactive graphs and results from the United States Geological Survey.

Average Annual Water Runoff and Precipitation for Historic Droughts in California  

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