California has experienced drought conditions for three years and much of the last decade, but surprisingly wet weather at the end of 2022 and through 2023 has boosted water supplies in the area.
According to The Associated Press, with the water year coming to an end with the conclusion of September, the state’s water levels in reservoirs were 128% of the historical average.
Abundant rain and snow throughout the 12 months from October 1, 2022, were mostly responsible for the much-welcomed influx of water, with 85.2 centimeters (33.56 inches) of rain recorded during that time.
Meanwhile, from the nine strong storms in the state throughout the water year, plenty of snow fell on the mountains, which melted in the spring and added to the water supplies. On April 1, the state snowpack was 237% of its historical average.
Some 27.4 million acre feet of water was measured in reservoirs at the end of the water year. For context, the AP said one acre foot of water is enough to meet the needs of two families of four for a year.
Director of the California Department of Water Resources Karla Nemeth told the publication: “This was as close to a miracle year as you can get.”
'Miracle' water year in California: Rain, snow put state's reservoirs at 128% of historical average https://t.co/YQfWBa7sME
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 4, 2023
But one good year of water should not make the state complacent.
“Keep up the conservation efforts or it’ll be low again fast,” reminded one Redditor.
Indeed, while water restrictions imposed on residents might not need to be as strict in the upcoming 12 months, it’s still a smart idea to conserve water when possible to mitigate against future times of drought.
Taking shorter showers, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, and fixing leaky pipes are all simple but effective ways to cut down on water usage at home.
While the improved water supplies is great news for Californians, the circumstances in which this was achieved are not ideal.
Flooding in the state in January killed 22 people, reminding of the dangers that extreme weather events — exacerbated by the effects of global heating — can bring.
And with the El Niño weather phenomenon set to peak in the early months of 2024, more intense periods of storms could lead to further fatal floods.
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