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Drought Information

California's Drought

On April 7, 2017 Governor Jerry Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17. Officially ending California’s state of emergency drought in all but a few counties. Even with the drought officially over water conservation efforts are still in place. For example, Calwater still has water use restrictions in place.

 In the winter of 2017 California experienced record breaking rain and snowfall. If California experiences high temperatures (for the past 4 years California has experienced record breaking heat) the snowpack will melt too quickly, creating excessive runoff, that could lead to flooding.

California's groundwater provides approximately 30 to 46 percent of the State's total water supply and in some communities groundwater provides 100 percent of the water supply. The reservoirs in California are at historical highs and the Sierra Nevada snowpack is 190% of normal. While surface water can recover in days, groundwater will take years to recover from the most recent drought.

What's happening in Butte County?

In Butte County, water resources are administered by the Butte County Resource Conservation. This agency monitors groundwater levels and quality throughout the county.  Click here to read Butte County's Drought Preparedness Plan.


Much of California depends on water from the northern part of the state. Currently,  25 million Californians rely on the water in Lake Oroville. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) ignored warnings about the safety of the emergency spillway from prominent environmental organizations. When the hillside under the emergency spillway eroded risking a massive flood, 180,000 Northern California residents had to be evacuated with little warning.


Lake Oroville is the largest reservoir and sole source of hydropower from California's State Water Project and it sits right here in Butte County. Although we have this resource right in our backyard, our local communities are reliant upon groundwater. Local districts have begun to implement their own standards. To find out who supplies your drinking water, click here.


Yard Signs Available Now:  Doing our part for the California Drought

Yard sign graphicAre you proudly letting your lawn go brown?  Are your neighbors giving you a hard time?  We heard from people whose efforts to conserve water were misunderstood or criticized by neighbors.  Now you can let them all know you're proudly doing your part for the California drought! It's time for all Californians to transition to minimal water use.  With this sign you can help make this a growing movement.  Get your sign from BEC today. 

Suggested donation of $2.


What are other regions doing?

  • Residents supplied by Soquel Creek Water District are required to reduce their water use to 75 gallons per day or face heavy penalty rates.
  • In Santa Cruz if you use more than you allotment, you get sent to Water School.
  • The photo to the right shows Folsom Reservoirat full capactiy in 2011 versus its 2014 levels.  Over 200,000 people rely upon this reservoir, which dams the Yuba River. The reservoir will now be drained more slowly to help recover winter-run chinook salmon.


CalWater in Chico: (530) 893-6300

CalWater in Oroville:  (530) 533-4034

South Feather Water and Power in Oroville: (530) 533-4578

Paradise Irrigation District:  (530) 877-4971

Drought is not just in California, it's across the west!