After two consecutive dry winters and a series of early summer heat waves, the vast majority of California is gripped by drought.
Water levels in reservoirs like Lake Oroville, Shasta Lake and Lake Mendocino are dangerously low. Wells in parts of the San Joaquin Valley and along the Russian River are drying up, and local water officials have mandated water restrictions up to 40% in some areas.
Already, more than 85% of California is experiencing extreme drought conditions, according to the latest drought monitor released on July 15, and experts forewarn a third year of drought could be on the horizon if the state doesn’t see significant winter rain storms.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown required Californians to conserve 25% of their water during the third year of the last major drought. State leaders have not yet taken that step during this year.