Extreme drought could cost California half its hydroelectric power this summer

Lake Oroville As Californias Drought-Relief Dreams Are Quickly Drying Up
The Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville during drought conditions in Oroville, California, on Monday, February 14th, 2022. | Image: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Drought is forecast to slash California’s supply of hydroelectricity in half this summer. That’s bad news for residents’ air quality and utility bills, the US Energy and Information Administration (EIA) said in its forecast. The state will likely lean on more expensive, polluting natural gas to make up for the shortfall in hydropower.

Nearly 60 percent of California is currently coping with “extreme” drought or worse, according to the national drought monitor map. California’s current water woes stem from low levels of snowpack, which quenches the state’s reservoirs when it melts. In early April, when snowpack usually peaks, the water content of the state’s snowpack was 40 percent lower than the normal levels over the past 30 years.

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Author: Justine Calma