Update from the Pacific Institute California Drought Response Group –October 15

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For the latest updates about the California drought go to www.californiadrought.org

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This week in… water shortages

Counties in California have reported nearly 1,000 homes that rely on groundwater as well as very small water systems are currently experiencing water shortages. Dozens of reports have been written about wells running dry throughout the Central Valley. East Porterville has been hit particularly hard; nearly 1,000 residents currently have no running water. Nearly 300 homes began receiving bottled water in August and some wells in the area reportedly went dry as early as April.

In mid-September, Governor Brown signed an executive order streamlining efforts to provide water to those with the greatest need. The order provides funding through the California Disaster Assistance Act to get drinking water and water for sanitation to homes that have no running water. The order also prohibits price gouging and directs state agencies to work with local agencies to identify and implement solutions to water shortages.

In other news…

  • According to a survey from the State Water Resources Control Board, water suppliers in California reduced their water use in August 11.5% over the previous year.
  • The Association of California Water Agencies released a series of resources regarding the new groundwater legislation.
  • Since January 1st, CAL FIRE has responded to 5,224 wildfires on 91,792 acres. The year-to-date historical average is 4,263 wildfires on 88,470 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher.
  • On October 3rd, the State Board declared that water right holders in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Russian, and Eel river watersheds whose water rights have been curtailed may be able to divert or store water on a temporary basis, in the event of significant precipitation this fall and winter.

California Drought Status

El Nino

The probability of an El Niño developing in November is 67%.

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Drought Monitor

Drought conditions are effectively unchanged from two weeks ago.

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Reservoir Conditions

Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing nearly 26.6 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 28% of total capacity and 49% of normal. 

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