Story at a glance
- National forecasts anticipate another major drought headed for California.
- Water suppliers are recommended to begin storing backup water supplies.
Following another exceptionally dry and hot winter, forecasters are dashing California’s hopes for refreshing spring rain in April as the state may see a continued drought.
The Associated Press (AP) chronicles the lingering drought, which is potentially part of a longer megadrought that has engulfed the Southwest United States since 1999, but has been off and on for more than 1,200 years, which scientists attribute to human activity affecting the climate.
The U.S. Drought Monitor further depicts an intense drought plaguing most of the state, with both northern and southern regions experiencing weather that ranges from “Abnormally Dry” to “Exceptional Drought.”
An estimated 33 million people are affected by the state’s dry weather.
The Drought Monitor’s accompanying forecast predicts that widespread “extreme” and “exceptional” drought conditions are continuing in the Western U.S. Precipitation continued to fall below average during the month of March, and combined with lower rates of snow water runoff for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, long-term drought is likely to continue in California along with other southwestern states.
Earlier in March, California’s State Water Board sent notices to utilities customers warning that water shortages may result in cuts to individual water supply.
Officials have advised water suppliers to begin storing water reserves.
“It’s been very dry both this year and last year if you go back to the previous water year,” Erik Ekdahl, State Water Resources Control Board department director told reporters. “People should start to plan accordingly.”