California might be getting the worst of the drought that’s hit the West this year, but many other states are also suffering.
Reuters has published a map that shows the reach of the drought, which looks to be affecting half of the country:
Weather experts don’t expect the drought to let up anytime soon. California just had its warmest winter on record, and some climate scientists are predicting that the drought could last decades. California has already been in a dry period for three years.
The drought has had a devastating effect on farming and could end up causing billions of dollars in economic losses, according to Reuters.
Other states have seen similar patterns — Arizona experienced its fourth-warmest winter on record and reservoirs in Texas are at their lowest levels in 25 years.
Some communities in the West are being asked to preserve water as much as they can so they don’t run out. Western states have been fighting over water rights, with rural areas and farming communities trying to block requests to ship water to cities and suburbs.
And with many western states experiencing unusually dry winters, they won’t be able to count on melting snowpacks to fill their reservoirs with water come spring.
Here’s a look at Folsom Lake, a reservoir near Sacramento:
In January, the lake had dipped to just 17% of its total capacity.
Other photos from earlier this year also illustrate the severity of the drought:
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