Update From the Pacific Institute California Drought Response Group – April 10, 2014


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

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This week in… Snowpack

April 10, 2014, Oakland, Calif. – On April 8, the Department of Natural Resources reported that snow water content in the Sierras was about 32% of normal, up from 19% as measured on January 3rd, the first survey of the year. This is effectively unchanged from the April 1st measurement, which is the most comprehensive survey of the year and is an important indication of future conditions as snowpack is generally at its peak before the spring melt begins. Snowpack provides about 1/3 of the state’s water supply. Current weather forecasts do not show any appreciable precipitation in the next week or so, indicating that the state may be at the end of the rainy season.

Below is the April 9th update of the key information and graphics on the status of the current drought. Much of this information can be found at our California Drought website: www.californiadrought.org.

California Drought Status

The Drought Monitor

Very little has changed this week in California drought conditions. The entire state remains in abnormally dry conditions, with 69% of the state in extreme or exceptional drought. For a description of these terms, check out the US Drought Monitor’s website.


Source of image can be found here.



Precipitation in California remains low. This map from NOAA’s Climate Data Center shows the precipitation deficit since the start of California’s water year on October 1st through April 8th.


See the full-sized image here.

This week did see some precipitation, mainly in the North Coast, Sacramento Valley, and San Joaquin Valley regions.


See the full-sized image here.


California snowpack is currently at about 30% of the April 1st average.


See the full-sized image here.


Reservoir Conditions

Statewide, California reservoirs are at about 48% of total capacity and about 66% of their historical average. This Department of Water Resources graphic shows that levels of most of the state’s largest reservoirs levels are currently between 40% and 74% of their historical average.



See the full-sized image here.


Soil Moisture

As measured by NASA’s GRACE satellite system, California soil moisture remains low, with particularly low areas in Northern California and the Los Angeles area.


See the full-sized image here.