Drought Update


With the San Gabriel Valley experiencing a very dry winter in 2021, coupled with declining state and local water supplies, it’s sounding a lot like it did in 2014, when the Valley’s last major drought period began. That drought period lasted about 5 years and a historic low groundwater level of 169.4 feet above mean sea level was recorded at the Baldwin Park Key Well on November 18, 2019. That’s a very significant reading since groundwater comprises about 80 percent of the water we use in the San Gabriel Valley. 


After relatively wet years in 2019 and 2020, drought conditions have returned and are worsening. Some researchers believe the last drought never ended and that the region is actually more than two decades into an emerging “mega-drought,” a hydrological event that is on par with the worst dry spells of the past millennium. As pointed out in the District’s 2021 Earth Day public education ad, shown below, many of our key indicators – local rainfall, groundwater, reservoirs, snowfall and imported water deliveries – are all trending downward. The combined effect is a “perfect storm” for our declining water supplies.


We’ve shared our belief that drought is common, drought is normal and drought will recur. We’ve communicated the adage that “it takes a long time to get into a drought and a long time to get out of a drought.” And, we’ve shared our mantra that conservation works and is the most efficient and least expensive means of preserving our water supply.