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Watch record drought spread to California in one GIF


The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NDMC-UNL)

For three straight years, California’s farmers have been dealing with severe drought, with 2013 being the driest year on record. It’s a serious ongoing problem, and this year is expected to be just as bad, The Post’s Lenny Bernstein reports:

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) officially declared a drought emergency on Jan. 17, asking the state’s 38 million people to voluntarily cut their water use by 20 percent. Two weeks later, with the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada at 12 percent of normal, the State Water Project announced for the first time in its 54-year history that it would deliver no water to agencies that serve 25 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland. They would have to get by with water from other sources, such as the Colorado River, groundwater and the little left in their reservoirs.

Here’s how the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains has changed in just one year:


Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, Jan. 13, 2013 vs. Jan. 13, 2014 (NOAA)

To learn more, check out Bernstein’s great look at what the drought means for farmers in the Golden State.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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