As California reservoirs near historic levels, does this mean that the drought and water shortages are over? California has received much-needed rainfall over the past two months, including torrential downpours, atmospheric rivers, and snowstorms. They have filled the state’s reservoirs. The data, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, suggests that many reservoirs are now nearing or exceeding historic levels. The state’s water supply comes from groundwater and a massive system of water reservoirs. They provide around 60% of the total supply. Winter is a crucial period for these water reservoirs. This is because the higher levels of precipitation serve as a buffer for the state’s dry summer months. The phenomenon of exceeding their average storage capacities is primarily affecting reservoirs in California’s Central Valley.
Lake Oroville (that we mentioned in our Feb. 3, 2023, post), one of California’s largest water reservoirs, is holding more water than its historical average for this time of year. The rainfall and snow have made half of California drought-free. Snowpacks in the Sierra Nevada region (~30% of the state’s water supply) are over 160% of the historical average. However, climate experts warn that the recent snowfall and precipitation may not be enough to end California’s decades-long mega-drought.