California drought to get worse, experts predict

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Weather experts received some bad news regarding the drought in Irvine Monday: With no relief this winter and summer ahead, the ongoing California drought is expected to get worse.

"The water situation is about as bad as you can expect it to be after four years of drought," said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Martin Hoerling.

Scientists and experts confirmed the bleak status of California's dwindling water supply. Researchers, students and state officials gathered at UC Irvine to discuss the causes and possible solutions for the state's historic drought.

"How do we create resilient ways of managing water so that there's enough water for all of our needs now and into the future?" said David Feldman, chairman of the Department of Planning, Policy and Design for UCI's School of Social Ecology.

While state water officials shared data on the near-historic low levels for the snowpack and reservoir, scientists pointed to past droughts as a reason not to panic.

"We're not seeing precipitation trending down progressively, so one shouldn't be alarmed that this is going to continue now for the next five or 10 years," Hoerling said.

He presented predictions of a strong El Nino in the near future, which could help pull California out of its dry conditions.

"We're monitoring this, NOAA and other agencies. If it becomes a big event, that will have a much more substantial effect on next winter's rainy season," Hoerling said.

State water officials said the new research is encouraging, but until they see the predictions come true, they want to remind people, conservation is the best solution right now.

"We do now know what the future brings and we need to make sure we can make the best use of what we have," said state climatologist Michael Anderson.

The California Drought Conference runs through Wednesday at UC Irvine's Beckman Center. Attendees and panelists include leading water-research schools, water agency representatives from across the region, public officials, as well as attendees from across the nation. For more information, visit

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