Drought conditions improve


Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Michael Catelli

On January 17, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the extreme conditions of the drought a state of emergency and demanded water usage cutbacks in hopes to save this state from drying up. Since 2014, Californians have been cutting back on water use at home in ways such as not watering the lawn to taking shorter showers.

For the drought overall, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, California is doing a lot better compared to previous years. In a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they found that in October of 2014, 58 percent of the state was in a class five drought (1=minor drought, 5=severe drought.) As of March 22, 2016, that number dropped to roughly 34 percent of our state experiencing a class five drought.

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Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture


“I don’t think it’s anything that everyone should be super excited about because we are still in a drought,” said sophomore Hannah Nimerfroh.

California has been soaked lately with the rainfall from El Nino. According to the University of California Cooperative Extension, Chico alone has gotten roughly 14 inches of rain since the beginning of 2016. The total rainfall in Chico for 2015 was 11 inches.

Chico State cut back its water usage by 43 percent over the summer months of 2015. Signs were staked on brown lawns around campus that read short satirical sayings such as “it’s not easy being green” or “brown is the new green,” but have recently been removed since the increase in rainfall of late 2015.

Michael Alonzo
Michael Alonzo, supervisor of grounds and landscaping. Photo credit: Austin Herbaugh


“The state as a whole is still under drought restrictions,” said Michael Alonzo, supervisor of grounds and landscaping. “Our irrigation controllers, campus wide, have been off since November, so we have not irrigated anything in a few months.”

To further water saving, the California restrictions on water usage are in effect until late 2016. Chico State’s facilities management and services plans on turning the irrigation water back on in the coming months.

Michael Catelli can be reached at [email protected] or @michaelcatelli on Twitter.