Drought Watch

By Veronica Rocha
August 21, 2014

The severe drought gripping nearly all of California eased ever so slightly this past week, but the state’s reservoirs remain “seriously low,” according to the latest figures released Thursday.

The amount of the state that now falls under the “severe” drought category — the third-harshest on a five-level scale — was down to 97.5%, a slight improvement from the 99.8% share during the same period last week, according to the U.S. Drought Map.

The progress, in part, is the result of above-normal rainfall in Southern California deserts for the last six months, according to Richard Tinker, who authored the latest drought report.

“Unfortunately, rainfall in this arid region will have no impact on the water shortages and seriously low reservoir stores reported throughout the state,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, a study published in the journal Science on Thursday estimates that the ongoing drought in the western United States has caused a loss of 63 trillion gallons of groundwater since the beginning of 2013.

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