Is California’s Drought Over?


Wow! Los Angeles has seen a lot of the wet stuff in the last few weeks! It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say this, but Los Angeles is currently above average in the amount of rainfall it has received this winter. Add to that images of raging waterfalls in Yosemite, reports of rivers above flood stage and tens of feet of snow falling in the Sierra Nevadas, and everyone’s excitedly asking, “Is California’s drought over?”

Unfortunately, the recent storms don’t necessarily mean that California’s drought is gone completely. Here’s why.

You’re right in thinking that the atmospheric-river storms that have dumped rain and snow all up and down the West Coast has put a dent in the drought. It’s great news that 42% of California is officially out of the drought. However, that means that 58% of the state is still experiencing drought conditions, and, unfortunately, LA is included in that number.  It’s because LA still hasn’t received enough rain to offset the huge hole we were in when it comes to precipitation totals. 

For the last five years, Los Angeles has received a total of just under 39 inches of rain. If those years had been normal years, LA would have twice that amount. Los Angeles averages about 15 inches of rain per year. So, even with the eight inches of rain we received in January, LA is still in the red.  Yes, the storms of the past month have helped, but, they’ve not been enough to get all of California out of the drought. Plus we don’t know what the rest of the rainy season will (or won’t) bring as far as the wet stuff is concerned.

So keep conserving water, LA! And, even if drought conditions are lifted here in the southland, water conservation needs to be a permanent way of life for Angelenos. Turn off those sprinklers before storms hit. Harvest rainwater using a rain barrel. Continue taking those five minute showers. Take our water conservation pledge to show that you’re still on board with doing all you can to save the drop. After all, Southern California’s arid environment isn’t going to change. It’s our job to change how we view and use water, recognizing that all water is One Water and that we should conserve and harvest all we can.


Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous
    January 31st, 2017 at 10:35 am

    If the City of Los Angeles would undertake to contruct catch basins for the run-off of the rain that we do receive, we would be way ahead in water conservation for our city.

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      February 6th, 2017 at 11:45 am

      We agree that everyone needs to do more to capture rainwater. The City of Los Angeles has a comprehensive program (you can learn more about it here: to reduce pollution in urban runoff and capture rainwater. Residents can also do their part by harvesting rainwater using rain barrels and implementing best practices like rain gardens and permeable pavement to allow rainwater to infiltrate into the ground instead of running off into streets.

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