As we head into the hottest and driest part of the year, before we head to the beach or sink back in air-conditioned comfort we should be mindful of water conditions.
Paying for water hits close to home. Homeowners proud of their yards and business owners watching the water meter should keep up with the conditions of California’s water supply.
At the start of California’s “water year” on Sept. 27, 2011, almost 90% of the state was well-watered and outside drought conditions.
A sub-par wet season this past winter and spring has flipped that on its head.
Only about 16% state now remains outside drought conditions. (On the featured graphic, those portions of the state that are uncolored.)
The rest of the state suffers at least under abnormally dry conditions, and 60% of the state is already into moderate drought.
Northwest Orange County is lucky to be merely abnormally dry (yellow on the map) — but that doesn’t release us from obligations to conserve water, consider drought-tolerant and native plants in our gardens and save electricity use in the middle of the day for life-saving air conditioning while shifting other usage to non-peak hours.
Looking ahead, the Old Farmer’s Almanac sees a hot dry summer into fall for California:
September and October will be warmer than normal, with slightly below-normal rainfall. Expect hot weather in early and mid-September.
A forecast of a hot dry summer should quickly call to mind the danger of wildfires. According to CalFire, right now there are two uncontained wildfires in the state, the George Fire in Tulare County and the Dale Fire in Shasta County:
View California Fire Map in a larger map
As we leave behind the festivities of the Fourth of July, we should keep fire safety in mind while enjoying the rest of our summer.
California drought map courtesy of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.