The April 1 snow survey revealed just how critically low our snowpack is compared to normal, and how it's contributing to a historic drought in California and the entire U.S. West region.
About 44 million people across the western United States are experiencing drought, according to Climate Central. The Sierra snowpack is at its lowest point in 70 years, and that translates to the worst megadrought in 1,200 years.
Due to climate change, snow melt is occurring on average 21 days earlier than in previous years. And because of the dry conditions, much of that snowmelt soaks into the ground before it gets a chance to run off and fill the reservoirs.
But there are ways to help preserve water sources in the future. Investment in wastewater treatment facilities and water storage, for example.
People also need to reduce and reuse their household water and apply water saving techniques for landscaping and agriculture as well.