Drought diminishes Golden State’s water supply


Western Regional Climate Center

Almost all of the counties in California are under severe drought conditions or worse

Joseph Zuloaga '23, Copy Editor

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma counties on April 21 due to drought conditions in the Russian River Watershed. 

Newsom issued this declaration standing on dry, cracked-earth at the bottom of Lake Mendocino where 40 ft of water was supposed to be. 

I think that [Gov. Newsom’s] state of emergency is helpful because the main purpose of it is to push an effort to conserve water and potential droughts throughout NorCal”  stated Mark Del Mundo ’21. 

Science Department Chair Colleen O’Rourke said, “The California Reservoir Report is updated daily and gives an indication of how much water is collected for human use in the state’s reservoir system. I’ve been checking it regularly over the past couple of weeks and you can see clearly that many of the most vital reservoirs in the state are roughly 50 percent of where they usually are this time of year.”

In this drought proclamation, Newsom announced actions to quickly increment drought resilience and prepare for future drought conditions. Throughout history, California has experienced numerous droughts and as the most populous state in the country and a major agricultural producer, a drought in California can have various impacts. 

In California and by many accounts nationwide, San Francisco uses the least amount of water per capita of any city”

— Michael O’Brien

AP Environmental Science teacher Michael O’Brien explained, “The impact on citizens can be great because that is where we tend to put the most emphasis. It’s important for us to realize that roughly 8 percent of water usage in California is allocated to human usage. A good 60 percent is allocated to agriculture and industry so it can affect everybody profoundly more so though, residents.”

He added, “In California and by many accounts nationwide, San Francisco uses the least amount of water per capita of any city, however, we stand to receive the most impact in conserving water due to drought.”

The drought, combined with a winter and spring of low precipitation, will be fuel for a devastating fire season this summer and fall. If conditions continue to worsen, Californians will likely soon see a year-long fire season with the state being affected in a myriad of ways.