Three waves of drought in 21st Century California. Graphic: NWS Hanford

By Bob Henson
27 February 2015

( – […] California is entering its fourth consecutive year of widespread drought, as measured by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which takes into account soil conditions and streamflow as well as precipitation. This is the third multiyear drought in California since 2000, and as Figure 3 shows, it’s the worst of the three in terms of the geographic extent of the most dire drought categories. Each year of consecutive drought magnifies the impact, as progressively tougher adaptations must be called on. Last month, California’s State Water Project anticipated being able to meet only 15% of the contracted water needs of its customers (which include 25 million Californians) in 2015. Most of the burden will fall on agriculture, the main user of water in California, but cities will be affected as well. David Behar (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission) told me that his agency has asked customers to cut 10% from their total water use. “That’s happened across our service area in a very solid way. I think we’re seeing people take this drought very seriously,” he said. "Even a 20% cut would be tough, but we could weather it.” The bigger question is what might happen in a drought lasting a decade or longer: ”Every drought we live through this century will be a dry run, no pun intended, for what we might see in the future.”

Crunch Time Ahead for California Drought Relief



Blog Template by Adam Every . Sponsored by Business Web Hosting Reviews