Dry weather and low water supply have been affecting California and the Sierra Nevada region as of late. Folsom Lake is completely dry, and the drought-like conditions are worse than normal, according to spokesperson Chris Orrock of the California Department of Water Resources. Back-to-back dry winters with very little rain and snow are to blame.
Orrock stated, “this year is a critically dry year,” so much so that the DWR canceled their snow survey at Philips Station because of the lack of snow on the ground. The lower elevation snow is already gone, and the higher elevation is beginning to melt, which runs down into streams and rivers that feed the reservoirs.
Absorption and evaporation also take their toll on the water supply as they reduce the amount of water that actually reaches reservoirs. Normally, groundwater makes up about %30 of the state’s fresh water supply. This year that number is more around 60%. Relying heavily on groundwater runs the risk for ground sinking, which happened during the 2015-2016 drought.
A dryer year can lead to more groundwater usage and less runoff. Lawmakers hope recently passed legislation can help with this issue and the overall climate change in the region. Orrock stated California would need numerous storms to help make up for the dry winter months.