More than 80% of California Under Extreme Drought or Worse
According to new data released by the National Weather Service (NWS), 81% of the state is now suffering from either extreme or exceptional drought. That figure is up from a recent high of 78% and 68% just three months ago.
Extreme drought (D3) conditions are characterized by major crop and pasture losses, as well as widespread water shortages and restrictions. Exceptional drought (D4) conditions—the highest intensity level—denote widespread crop and pasture losses with emergency shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells.
The NWS monitor update for the week of July 15 shows a worsening of conditions in the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. The information is based on 50 indicators, ranging from weather patterns and soil conditions to water activity.
Experts don’t expect the parched conditions to let up any time soon. With the entire state under a prolonged drought, it becomes more difficult to “break the cycle,” said National Drought Mitigation Center climatologist Brian Fuchs.
The latest figures came just as the State Water Resources Control Board adopted regulations giving local agencies the authority to fine water wasters up to $500 per day.
Read more about the latest figures here.