Stunning drone photographs of Lake Oroville help illustrate the drought emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom in two Northern California counties.
Water levels at Lake Oroville have dropped to 42% of its 3,537,577 acre foot capacity.
Conditions are particularly acute in Mendocino and Sonoma counties because the local water supply depends on rainfall in the Russian River watershed.
The second parched winter in a row has left the region’s reservoirs in even worse shape than during the severe 2012-16 drought. The major water district has warned that Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino could reach historically low levels by October.
The picture is not nearly as dire in Southern California, which is mostly supplied by big federal and state water systems rather than local precipitation.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which imports water from the Colorado River and the north, says it has record reserves in regional reservoirs and groundwater banks — enough to carry it through this year and next.
Los Angeles, which is partly supplied by the MWD, similarly doesn’t anticipate any shortages.
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