A snow survey Thursday in the Sierra Nevada in Northern California found the snow water equivalent was just 12 percent of normal for this time of winter, despite a storm that dumped some new snow Thursday. The water in the northern and central Sierra snowpack provides about a third of California’s water supply. Satellite photos from space show the tops of the towering peaks as brown instead of white. …
“Make no mistake, this drought is a big wakeup call,” Brown said Thursday before meeting with local water district officials in downtown Los Angeles, where a smattering of rain fell later in the day. “Hopefully it’s going to rain. If it doesn’t, we’re going to have to act in a very strenuous way in every part of the state to get through.”
“Every day this drought goes on, we’re going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing,” Brown said.
Brown declared a state drought emergency earlier this month and called on Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.
On Thursday he offered some practical advice, including avoiding long solo showers and cutting down on toilet flushing.
State climatologist Michael Anderson said only 1.53 inches of rain were recorded from October through December, the lowest aggregate total in records dating back to 1895.
Officials say 2013 was also state’s driest calendar year since records started being kept.