Flooding, a hurricane, wildfires… these are all reasons for evacuation. But drought?
It’s happening in California.
Summer has not even started and Lake Oroville, the second-largest reservoir in California that provides drinking water to more than 25 million people, is at less than half of its average capacity at this time of year.
A mass evacuation of houseboats was ordered from an evaporating California lake after the state’s ongoing drought crisis. The lake’s water level has plunged.
So the owners of dozens of boats moored on Lake Oroville have been told to move their boats to dry land.
Lake officials say that around 130 boats from two marinas have been hauled out on a rig and placed in parking lots by the lake. They say the reservoir is much lower than typical this time of year. It’s about 47 percent of average.
Since May 10th, California Governor Gavin Newsom has already declared a state of emergency linked to drought in more than 40 counties. And experts say the situation is only going to get worse. Exacerbated by the effects of climate change, it’s not expected to improve before the rains return in five or six months.
Boat owners are saying they’ve never seen dry conditions like this before.
It was back in 2017 when residents of the area had to evacuate because of torrential rains. Authorities feared the dam would break under the pressure. Now just a few years later, and the situation is completely different.
(sources: California government, California NWS, NOAA, BBC, phys.org, South California.org, National Geographic)