CHICO, Calif. - The water year in California runs from October 1st to September 30th. This year's water year has ended with only half of the amount of rainfall we see in a typical year which has adversely affected water resources and increased fire danger over our fire season.
The driest year ever recorded in Redding was 19.38 inches in the water year of 1990-1991. The wettest year ever recorded in Redding was 68.43 inches in the water year of 1940-1941.
Our water year ended last week and in total, throughout the who water year (2019-2020), we recorded 23.70 inches of rain. The average is 38 inches of rain, so we are well below the average for rainfall. In fact we were only 4.32 inches away from being the driest water year on record. Whereas we were 68.43 inches away from reaching the wettest year on record. The dry year we see is clear when breaking down these numbers. Almost our entire region was in a large rain deficit and most areas were 40-60% of average rainfall.
The dry water year contributed greatly to fire danger. With little rain, fuel moisture has been allowed to drop to near record minuimums. This means grass, shrubs and tress are tinder and ready to burn.
Water resources have also been reduced due to a dry water year.
Groundwater levels have been reduced by more than 5 feet across our region over our water year. This could have impacts on many in the area who rely on wells, but the impacts will not be major since the drop in groundwater has not been drastic, but gradual.
Most major reservoirs are also now about 75-80% of average levels. This is not an immediate concern but something that should be watched. If we see another dry water ryear, then water resources could become more strained and restricted.
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