8 images that explain how bad the California drought has become


Gov. Jerry Brown’s sweeping water conservation order Wednesday comes amid more grim news about the state’s snowpack.

Electronic readings on Wednesday at about 100 stations across the Sierra Nevada showed that the water content of the snow was only about 5% of the state average for April 1, the date on which the snowpack is normally considered at its peak.

Early data show the snowpack is lower than any year since 1950, when record keeping began. Never before has the amount of water in the snow on April 1 dipped lower than 25% of the historical average for that day.


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The snowpack accounts for about 30% of the state’s water supply. Other sources, including reservoirs and rainfall totals, have recently improved. Still, officials from the Department of Water Resources say the state of the snowpack, which melts and replenishes California’s reservoirs, means there will be virtually no runoff this spring or summer when the rain stops and temperatures rise.

Above, take a look at some maps and charts that illustrate the drought and the lack of snow.


169 drought maps reveal just how thirsty California has become

No, California won’t run out of water in a year


State drought relief package falls short, conservation advocates say