Drought concerns raised after dry winter season

Drought concerns during dry winter season

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - As of February 5, roughly 44 percent of Southern California is in moderate drought conditions.

While that is still a far cry from extreme drought conditions across the state in 2014, California is well below average for rainfall and snowpack in 2018. Experts are concerned about what that could mean heading into the summer months.

“There’s a noticeable difference from this year to last,” said Katie Evans, conservative coordinator for the Coachella Valley Water District.

From October to February, Palm Springs has received 1.45 inches of rain, during the same period last year, Palm Springs received 5.32 inches of rain.

“So we don’t have the knee-jerk reaction that 'oh my god we’ve got a dry year we should implement some changes right away,” Evans said.

California ended its official drought restrictions in April 2017, but local residents should still remember to conserve water.

“During wet years, sure we’re happy for new supply and to store that water but we always need to be using it wisely we always need to think about conservation,” Evans continued.

Reservoirs hold millions of gallons of drinking water for Coachella Valley residents but the question is where does that water come from? Can it be counted on if another drought hits Southern California? 

“The local rainfall, the local snow we see up on the mountains, that's not really the best indicator of our water supply because so much of our water supply comes from Northern California,” said Ashley Metzger, outreach coordinator for the Desert Water Agency

The Sierra Nevada Snowpack is only 27 percent of normal, so low in fact that it ties the historical low of the drought’s peak in 2014 and 2015.

“What's happening up in Northern California is really important and we keep a very close pulse on that,” Metzger said.

The final count of the Sierra Nevada snowpack is on April 1.That’s when we’ll know how much snowpack we’ll have to last us through the summer.

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