Editorial: Drought is the new normal

This June 6, 2016 photo shows patches of dead and dying trees near Cressman, Calif.
The state hasn’t slid back into drought yet, but it is time to start planning as if it has.
The deluge of the 2016-17 water year was almost enough (but not quite) to make Californians forget the five years of drought that preceded it.
If we take a longer view of the state’s weather, 11 of the past 17 years have been dry and warm.
In fact, 2017 was the warmest year in California on record.
No one likes the deprivations, psychological and actual, of drought.
So it’s only natural we continue to hope significant rain will sweep the state next week or next month.
But the long-range forecast suggests we’ll see sunny and dry through February, typically the end of the rainy season.
Better that we plan ahead, and live as if water is scarce, rain unpredictable and stored water precious.
If the rains arrive, then we’ll all rejoice — and be well positioned for the next, inevitable drought.

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