In Los Angeles, where it is typically drier with less annual rainfall than other parts of California, we have received only 26% of precipitation that we normally receive at this point in the water year. The water year is a duration of 12 months, beginning from October 1st until September 30th the following year, measuring total precipitation (we are currently in the 2016 water year that began on October 1, 2015). Since then, Downtown Los Angeles has received only 1.03 inches of rainfall out of the previous normal total annual rainfall average of about 15 inches.
As expected, our northern counterpart San Francisco has been doing much better. They have received 4.8 inches of rainfall so far this water year, which is about 23% of their average annual rainfall. And they have received 65% of precipitation of what they typically get at this time of the water year.
The big question on everyone’s mind is whether El Niño will end this recent drought? The simple answer is: no. Californians must accept we are in a rain deficit of at least two years, which means that even with this season’s El Niño rainfall and any additional storm precipitation, we must continue our water conservation efforts. Like someone learning to balance their checkbook after going into debt, we must all learn to live within our water means, noting usage changes are not temporary, but permanent.
For more information about El Nino and drought, visit Berkeley News.