California’s latest drought began in 2020 and no relief appeared in sight heading into this winter. Heavy rains and snowfall since late last year have freed half of California from drought. However, according to U.S. Drought Monitor data, low groundwater levels remain a persistent problem.
The latest survey found that moderate or severe drought covers about 49% of the state, and nearly 17% of the state is free of drought or a condition described as abnormally dry. The remainder is still abnormally dry.
Three months ago virtually all of California was in drought, including at extreme and exceptional levels. Water agencies serving millions of people, agriculture and industry were told to expect only a fraction of requested allocations.
The central Sierra and foothills are now free of drought or abnormal dryness for the first time since January 2020, the monitor said. The central coast from Monterey Bay to Los Angeles County is also now drought-free, along with two counties on the far north coast.