California‘s Gov. Jerry Brown announced the ‘never-ending drought’ was officially over, despite previous comments that global warming was making it the ‘new normal.’
A combination of factors drove California’s water shortage: an enormous Pacific blob of warm air off the Northwest coast and a high-pressure system stuck off the West Coast that was interrupting the normal cycle of yearly rains and snow.
During the winter, meter-high snow packs would normally blanket the Sierra Mountains, melting in the spring and filling reservoirs below.
Another major issue: the state was still using the 1960’s open-air aqueduct system and leaky pipelines to transport water from rainier areas to drier areas, losing millions of gallons in the process.
The aging infrastructure was created under Gov. Pat Brown (the current governor’s father) back in the 1960s. One-half of the state’s population lives in regions containing one percent of the natural supply of water, while the other half doesn’t.