BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Nearly all of Kern County is now in exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Today’s update shows that all of Kern County is in the highest-intensity category except for the eastern edge of the county, which remains in the extreme drought category. Nearly all of the state is in either extreme drought or exceptional drought.

An exceptional drought is defined by the Drought Monitor as the following:

  • Fields are left fallow; orchards are removed; vegetable yields are low; honey harvest is small
  • Fire season is very costly; number of fires and area burned are extensive
  • Many recreational activities are affected
  • Fish rescue and relocation begins; pine beetle infestation occurs; forest mortality is high; wetlands dry up; survival of native plants and animals is low; fewer wildflowers bloom; wildlife death is widespread; algae blooms appear
  • Policy change; agriculture unemployment is high, food aid is needed
  • Poor air quality affects health; greenhouse gas emissions increase as hydropower production decreases; West Nile Virus outbreaks rise
  • Water shortages are widespread; surface water is depleted; federal irrigation water deliveries are extremely low; junior water rights are curtailed; water prices are extremely high; wells are dry, more and deeper wells are drilled; water quality is poor