California has had years of very little precipitation before. California has had years of relatively low surface reservoir storage before. What’s unprecedented about this drought is that it combines low surface reservoir storage with very little new precipitation and snow pack and above average temperatures.
- The extent of the drought emergency varies greatly across the state. In general, water service providers who have multiple local or imported water sources—e.g., surface reservoirs, groundwater, and recycled water—have more options for managing tightening supplies. Water suppliers who have only a single surface water source with no ready access to groundwater face the biggest challenges.
- The drought not only affects California’s residents, businesses and farms, but also its fish and wildlife. Plants and animals in otherwise thriving ecosystems come under tremendous strain; those in already-stressed ecosystems become even more vulnerable. We’re all in this together—people, fish and wildlife.
- The drought is an opportunity for all Californians to re-examine their water use and re-commit to greater efforts to use our scarce supplies as wisely and as efficiently as possible.
- The drought is an opportunity for Californians to make long-term changes in our relationship with water that will have benefits that will last far longer than the current emergency. Water-conserving behaviors in years of relative abundance are what stretch supplies in years of shortage.