According to officials quoted by The Los Angeles Times this weekend (here).
"I have not seen a more serious water situation in my career, and I’ve
been doing this 30 years," said Timothy Quinn, executive director of
the Assn. of California Water Agencies. An outmoded delivery system and
court rulings that protect endangered fish are also straining the
system, he said.
"This is a harbinger of relatively tough times, not just for this year but for a set of years," Quinn said.
He and others urged Californians to rein in water use.
"We need to recognize that we’re in a water shortage and begin to
act accordingly," state Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman told
reporters at a Sacramento news conference.
Statewide, early hopes of a wet year faltered when snowfall in some
areas of the Sierra — the source of much of the state’s water —
virtually stopped in early March. The months of March and April
combined were the driest in the northern Sierra since 1921.
The Sierra Nevada snowpack has shrunk to 67% of normal, down
sharply from 97% in late March, according to results of the snow
survey, released Thursday by the state Department of Water Resources.
The May 1 measurements are crucial in forecasting California water
supplies as well as hydroelectric production, state officials said.
Here’s a graph of conditions via NOAA’s Drought Monitor as of 4/29.