California Reservoirs Are Half-Empty, Recalling Historic Drought

2 April 2021

California’s reservoirs are half-empty and dryness has reached levels similar to 2014 and 2015, when the state suffered an historic drought.

The state, known for its water-intense almond production, is facing its third driest year on record, according to a report issued by the Department of Water Resources Thursday. The last time California was this dry, the state imposed widespread water-use restrictions, some of which have since become law.

The state’s April 1 report on snow across the Sierra Nevada is key in determining California’s water resources for the rest of the spring, summer and fall. The state received just half of its usual precipitation this year. And while winter has brought more snow than rain to many areas, the ground below may be so dry that the soil absorbs the moisture before it can fill reservoirs, said Sean de Guzman, chief of the department’s snow surveys and water supply forecasting section.

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