Just in case you thought that the recent handful of sprinkle-filled days made a dent in the drought: no, they didn’t.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor for California, as of April 1 not a single acre of the Golden State was any wetter than “abnormally dry” — that’s the teensy bit of yellow in the extreme southeast in the map (below and featured) created by David Simeral at the Western Regional Climate Center.
Most of the state rates at best “severe drought” and a big chunk of the center of the state is in the pits at “exceptional.”
In this case, you don’t want to be exceptional.
That represents twenty-three percent of the land area of Crispy California. Another sixty-nine percent is rated “extreme.”
Orange County falls in the extreme category.
That’s a cheerful thought to keep in mind while running the water into the bath tub, or considering whether to install fake grass. (So-called “artificial turf” can actually look pretty darned good these days, especially when you stake out your latest water bill to burn in the noon-day sun.)
Some cities — like Cypress — are considering amending local ordinances against artificial turf to allow residents relief from the tyranny of irrigating their lawn. Be sure to check with city staff regarding whether you are allowed under current ordinances to install artificial turf to replace the dead brown scraggle that your neighbors are either furious about, or envious of, or both.
According to Brad Rippey, meteorologist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Economist, “California remained a drought focus during March, despite periods of rain and snow,” Rippey said. “The March precipitation offered some short-term benefits, such as aiding rain-fed crops, temporarily easing irrigation demands, and adding some water to drought-lowered reservoirs. However, California still faces a summer of reductions in water allocations, as the cumulative effects of the three-year drought on surface- and ground-water supplies continue to mount. During the four weeks ending April 1, California’s coverage of extreme to exceptional (D3-D4) drought increased slightly from 66 to 69 percent.”
Map of drought conditions in California as of April 1, 2014. Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor.