Is The Drought Over ?

It has been raining like crazy in California this winter.  Or rather, it has ben raining like a normal winter. In a summer-dry climate we expect it to be winter wet.

But is the California drought over ? Here is a map showing the overall change in exactly one year, since February 2, 2016.

California drought map January 31 2016 - Feb 2 2017;

California drought map January 31 2016 – Feb 2 2017;

While it has been a dramatic change it its not over; Southern California is still below average.  Although there is above average snowpack in the mountains, which will insure adequate water, the State is still experiencing water supply shortfalls and five years of drought have left California with a significant water supply deficit, especially when it comes to groundwater basins.

Who decides when the drought is officially over ?  The State Water Resources Control Board will vote on Feb. 8 whether or not to officially extend drought regulations. Item 9.

Raindrops and bubbles in street puddle

To follow the progress of the drought and the many water conservation resources that various government agencies provide, we have listed the most active Resources and summarized them below, including a few timely rainfall reporting sites:

California Water Year Totals from National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration NOAA

California DWR Daily Reporting Stations – Department of Water Resources

Two great websites with up to date news:

Water Deeply In-depth coverage of the California drought.

California Water Blog –  UC Davis Center for Watershed Science

Government resources:

Drought Portal California official website

California Water Science from US Geologic Survey and specifically CA Drought

Save Our Water State of California Water Conservation tips and action

California Drought from Pacific Institute

Background Report defining drought from DWR (Department of Water Resources):  “California’s Most Significant Droughts; Comparing Historical  and Recent Conditions | February 2015″

The Summer-Dry Garden

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holt_782-158.tifSummer-dry gardens can be beautiful.  The art and science of gardening is learning which plant prosper in garden settings. Many plants are meant for summer-dry climates and don’t need lots of water, though careful irrigation improves their beauty.

I do water my own California garden in summer; and so does every farm and every garden – all summer.  It simply doesn’t rain.  The irrigation water has to come from somewhere, other than a faucet. Continue reading

Drought Tolerant is Irrelevant

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holt_389-863.tifAll plants are drought tolerant in their native habitat and no plant can live without water.

No matter where a garden is located, the tropics or the desert, the plants in that garden should naturally tolerate periods of lower than average water.  They may thrive with supplemental water during dry periods but the term “drought tolerant” can be very misleading, especially in summer-dry climates. Continue reading