Dealing with Drought:
Making water conservation a Monterey County way of life

The Latest

Click for the California Bi-Weekly Drought Brief

Current Drought Monitor

Monterey County current level: D2/D3/D4

The D4 (Exceptional Drought) is the worst drought category on the Drought Monitor and the first time it's been used in California since this monitoring system started in 2000. The degradation was made due to historically low rainfall amounts causing long-term precipitation deficits stretching several years, and a growing number of increasingly significant drought impacts.

The state has improved in the last 3 months, with 40% of the state being classifed as "Exceptional Drought" (compared to over 55% in November), however, approximately 67% of California still remains in D3/D4 (Extreme/Exceptional) conditions and 93% of the state is classifed as "Severe Drought" or worse.

Rainfalls to our area have helped to reduce some parts of Monterey County to "Severe" and "Extreme" as opposed to "Exceptional" drought status, however, it has not made up for the deficits caused by the last 3 years. 


Current El Niño News

ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Advisory

 The current outlook states that there is approximately a 50-60% chance of El Niño conditions continuing through the summer. It is too early to anticipate impacts or effects on rainfall later this year.

 For more information on the current projections and information regarding the El Niño weather pattern, please visit the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's El Niño page

 It is important to remember that El Niño weather patterns are tied to unpredictable behavior and that this should have no bearing on your desire to improve efficiency of your water usage.

Conservation involves actions that you can control, unlike the weather, which is susceptible to change at any time. 


Historical Significance


The Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) measures drought conditions in any given year. The further from the middle line (0) that the point is, the more severe the conditions. Our state average over the last 100+ years is -0.08. Our 2014 number was below -5, a new record low. As 2015 progesses, this will probably continue to drop as the drought continues to worsen.


Palmer Drought Severity Index