California’s five-year drought that ended in 2016 was brutal, one of the most severe in history. It unfolded during historic statewide high temperatures and included the driest four-year period on record and the lowest Sierra Nevada snowpack ever recorded.
It took sacrifice and resolve, but the state made it through that challenge, thanks in part to a 25 percent reduction in urban water use mandated by former Gov. Jerry Brown.
Now drought conditions have returned — and arguably the underlying conditions are worse than those experienced five years ago. Temperatures continue to rise, setting all-time records last summer, and parched conditions have extended throughout most of the West, stressing the Colorado River basin.