STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

California's dry water year has affected wildfire season and water storage

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 storage and increased fire danger over our fire season.

Posted: Oct 6, 2020 6:44 PM

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.

Click these links for more:

California's Official 2019-2020 Water Year Summary

California's Most Significant Droughts: Comparing Historical and Recent Conditions (in-depth)

Chico
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Oroville
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 59°
Paradise
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 55°
Chester
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 56°
Red Bluff
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 56°
Willows
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 55°
Cloudy skies and very light scattered showers are lingering across northern California for the start of your Wednesday, but we'll be clearing out and warming up Wednesday afternoon. We'll be sunny and warmer on Thursday, but clouds will increase Friday. More showers are looking likely Friday night into Saturday, but we'll dry out again for Halloween on Sunday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events