Climate Signals summary: In spite of recent rain and snow, the drought in California continues - worsened by human-caused climate change.
In a clear sign that the drought persists, California today adopted new emergency regulations aimed at stopping residents from wasting the state’s precious water.
California’s drought is not over despite a bounty of snowfall and rain over the past month: California’s snowpack — a critical source of water — is 150% of average for Jan. 4. But with three months left of the wet season, it’s not enough to bring an end to the severe drought and water shortages.
The amount of water now stored is actually worse than last year at this time: The state’s reservoirs in December were projected to contain about 78% of average — compared to about 82% in 2020.
Moderate to exceptional drought still grips the entire state, and a soggy start to the rainy season does not guarantee even an average water year. California has felt that false hope before: In 2013, during the last record-breaking drought, a wet December turned into a dry January and February.
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