Businesses can better visualize water shortages — and develop water management strategies accordingly — with help from an interactive California Drought visualization website that aims to provide atlas-like, statewide coverage of the drought and a timeline of its impacts on water resources.
The US Geological Survey developed the interactive website as part of the federal government’s Open Water Data Initiative. The drought visualization page features high-tech graphics that illustrate the effect of drought on regional reservoir storage from 2011-2014.
For the visualization, California drought data are integrated through space and time with maps and plots of reservoir storage. Reservoir levels can be seen to respond to seasonal drivers in each year. However, available water decreases overall as the drought persists. The connection between snowpack and reservoir levels is also displayed interactively. Current streamflow collected at USGS gaging stations is graphed relative to historic averages. Additionally, California’s water use profile is summarized.
California has been experiencing one of its most severe drought in over a century, and 2013 was the driest calendar year in the state’s 119-year recorded history.
The 2014 drought has cost California’s economy $2.2 billion, according to a University of California, Davis report published earlier this year.