California drought / Shutterstock

With no relief in sight for California‘s worst drought in state history and the driest period for the region in more than 500 years, Governor Jerry Brown is urging residents to conserve water by turning off the tap when brushing teeth, not flushing the toilet more than needed and taking shorter showers. “Make no mistake, this drought is a big wakeup call. Hopefully it’s going to rain. If it doesn’t, we’re going to have to act in a very strenuous way in every part of the state to get through,” said Brown. “Every day this drought goes on, we’re going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing.”

Image © Nick Ares

As of Thursday, the snow water equivalent in the Sierra Nevada in Northern California was only 12 per cent of normal despite a recent snow storm. There is usually around 15 feet of late January snow in the Sierras, which means there would need to be 44 more snowstorms to get back to normal and change the tops of the mountains from brown to white. This is important because water from the Sierras provides about a third of California’s water supply.

To underscore how serious the conditions are in the Golden State, the National Drought Mitigation Center on Thursday upgraded about nine per cent of the state to an “exceptional drought” — the highest level of drought severity. California’s drought is now on par with major recent droughts in Texas and the Midwest.

State officials recently said that 17 communities are in danger of running out of water within 60 to 120 days. A San Jose Mercury-News article states that “in some communities, wells are running dry. In others, reservoirs are nearly empty. Some have long-running problems that predate the drought.”

Via Huffington Post