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Is California Out of Drought?

UC Davis professor thinks so, based on recent storms


Storms across northern California and the Pacific Northwest this week have brought the state at least most of the way out of drought, according to Jay Lund, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis.

In a post this week on, UC Davis professor Jay Lund wrote that "In terms of surface water, most of California is no longer in drought."

Sacramento County got 10 inches of rain and 6 feet of snow as a result of the storm that swept the state (and is still moving through) this week. As of January 10, the North Sierra region received the most cumulative rainfall for the time of year since records were kept, even compared against the wettest year (1982-1983).

Reservoirs across California have been filled to 1.2 million acre-feet more water than the long-term average, going above average for the first time in 6 years. The one exception is Lake Cachuma, whose supplies to Santa Barbara are currently at 11 percent of average storage.

Lund predicts that groundwater aquifers in northern California will be refilled thanks to the recent wet conditions, and the rainfall in southern California will reduce the need to pump and therefore increase recharge. However, since southern California got less rain - the season total at the Hollywood Reservoir, for example, is only 8.46 inches from Oct 1 to time of writing - aquifers in the southern parts of the state may not get the chance to fully recover.

"Groundwater in the southern Central Valley might rise some, but will remain low, keeping some wells stranded and increasing pumping costs for years and perhaps decades," he wrote.

To read the full post, "Tails of California's Drought," visit

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August 26, 2019, 1:22 am PDT

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