Do we have enough water stored?
In drier seasons, we rely on other sources of water. These include reservoirs and melted snowpack. But we are now facing a historic level of dryness that has gone on for 3 years. And it’s only getting worse: 2022 had the driest January, February, and March in over 100 years.
Major reservoir levels
Reservoirs get us through the dry months
of average levels
|Total capacity||Average level historically||Current level|
|75,534 thousands of acre feet (TAF)||56,526 thousands of acre feet (TAF)||40,409 thousands of acre feet (TAF)|
Statewide snowpack levels
Snow melt feeds our reservoirs & rivers
5% of average peak snowpack
|Average peak snow water equivalent|
|Current snow water equivalent|
|25.3 inches||1.3 inches|
Preparing for a new, drier normal
Weather extremes brought on by climate change have reduced our water supply. We are in a third year of drought and need to use less water.
This map shows rain and temperature effects on moisture on a 12 month Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI)
Helping people now
California’s long drought threatens many people’s access to clean, safe drinking water.
353,000 Californians received state help for drinking water problems in 2021
$92 million distributed to California communities (in 26 counties) for drought-related projects
The state is working to give access to clean water for all.
Drought help spotlight
Emergency water delivery
When the wells of rural communities go dry or get contaminated, the state has water delivered to them. Here is Jose Aguilar of Self Help Enterprises bringing water to a community in the Central Valley. The State Water Board funds this project, providing water Californians need to survive in areas most stricken by drought.
What the state is doing
Here’s how California government is taking action:
- Giving agencies the tools they need to tackle the drought emergency
- Addressing long-standing water challenges
- Securing vital and limited water supplies to sustain our state into the future
How you can help
Use less water
It is critical that Californians work together to save our water. That’s why we developed the Save Our Water campaign. More clean water makes the world a better place for our children and future generations.
Do your part
The Governor asks that Californians cut their water use by 15% from 2020 levels. We’re not yet meeting that goal.
3.7% of 15% goal
Reduction in use from 2020
Take these tips
State actions against drought
Governor Gavin Newsom called on local water suppliers to move to Level 2 of their contingency plans. This would help conserve water across all sectors. He also asked that a ban be considered on watering decorative lawns at businesses and institutions.
The State Water Board adopted new regulations to prohibit water waste in response to the ongoing drought emergency. They went into effect January 18, 2022.
Governor Gavin Newsom extended the drought emergency statewide. He further urged Californians to step up their water conservation efforts as the western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought.