"It’s been just four years since the state’s last drought emergency and battles are beginning over how scarce supplies are rationed"
"California is at the edge of another protracted drought, just a few years after one of the worst dry spells in state history left poor and rural communities without well water, triggered major water restrictions in cities, forced farmers to idle their fields, killed millions of trees, and fueled devastating megafires.
On Thursday, the unofficial end of California’s wet season, officials announced that the accumulation of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Cascades was about 40% below average levels. The state doesn’t have enough snow and rain banked to replenish its groundwater supplies, feed its rivers and streams or fill depleted reservoirs.
“It’s not just that we’re anticipating a dry year, it’s that this is our second extremely dry year, in a row,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles and the Nature Conservancy. California – along with much of the US west – is parched, Swain added, and should brace for water cuts and arid conditions that could trigger more destructive wildfires."