California’s Water Reserves are Full, Are We Still in a Drought? Yes and No.

California’s Water Reserves are Full, Are We Still in a Drought? Yes and No.

Record-breaking rain and snow hammers California on the heels of the three driest years in Golden State record. With full reservoirs and snowpack on nearly every mountain range in the drought-ridden state, U.S. Drought Monitor says less than half of California remains under drought conditions.

However, California Farm Bureau water expert Chris Sheuring says this doesn’t necessarily mean the state is out of the woods, or that it ever could be.

“I actually don't think that drought is a useful construct. It sort of mischaracterizes California's hydrology. California's hydrology has always been dry periods followed by wet periods, with a wide annual variability.”

“We're perpetually in drought. It's just a question of ‘are we able, during the brief wet periods, to accumulate enough to get us through the next drought period? So I think it should be a feature of a long term thinking in terms of water management. If we have a wet year, maybe we can say that drought conditions are over, but the next drought's just around the corner and we need to plan, and accumulate, and store accordingly. So are we going to be out of the drought this year? Well, in some sense, I suppose. In other senses, no. We're just enjoying a brief and propagate wet period before we step into the next cycle.”

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