The record-setting winter water drought in California is cause for concern for not just locals, but for many Americans.
Approximately two-thirds of California has been deemed in the midst of either a “severe” or “exceptional” drought. Nine percent of the state is now considered “exceptionally dry.” The California drought  is the worst such event since 1977.
California cities and institutions have resorted to “exceptional measures” to deal with drought issues. Mandatory water restrictions have now become the norm in the state. Some environmental experts are worried that the California area drought could cause the extinction of several animal species. In Santa Cruz, residents rely on rainfall and not imported water or mountain runoff to fill their taps.
During the California drought residents are not allowed to fill swimming pools or hot tubs, and restaurants are being urged to stop serving water  unless the guests specifically request it with their meal.
But what can off-the-gridders and homesteaders do to prepare for a drought? Experts contacted by Off The Grid News said there are several options that will work for keeping not only people but also gardens alive.
Said bestselling preparedness author Rick Austin:
We had a 6-week drought here in Western North Carolina last summer with unbearable heat and humidity but no rain. My Secret Garden of Survival [natural gardening style] did fine because the plants are perennials with deeper roots than annual vegetable garden, and because the berms, that my plants sit on, naturally stored water underground, where the perennial plants could reach it. Even though the top soil was dusty and dry after six weeks without rain, my garden was lush and green with no loss of crops as opposed to my neighbors’ gardens that lost everything.
I also have an 11,000-gallon duck pond that is uphill from my garden so I could have used some of that if I needed to, to water crops using gravity feed and regular garden hoses. In addition, I have rainwater catchment tanks on every corner of every building on my property, so I can store water for me, for my livestock and for my garden if need be. In fact, my family and my livestock lived off the rainwater tanks for two weeks when my submersible pump went out and had to be replaced. If we had not had the backup of rainwater catchment, we would have been up a dried up creek without a paddle.
Austin said he also has used gray water diverted from his home to a greenhouse to keep plants alive.
Off grid living expert Scott Hunt said:
The key to beating a drought has always been storage. Water storage can make the difference between a harvest or crop failure, life or death. There are many methods to storing water. Digging reservoirs or ponds to collect the water when it does rain. Having buried cisterns will beat the effects of evaporation that accompany drought conditions. Using 55-gallon drums of treated water in your home can be a huge blessing when the tap runs dry or the source has been contaminated.
On January 31 the California Water Resources Department said that the agency was not allocating any water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to local water departments – for the first time in the history of the state. The snowpack in California is just 12 of the average for this time period. Rain and snowmelt fed the river delta, making it the largest single source of water for the 25.4 million acres of farmland and 38 million people in the state.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District was built to supply water to 19 million people in Southern California. Customers have been asked to reduce their consumption by 20 percent. Unfortunately, when such warnings are issued, people panic and actually begin massive storing or hoarding. The ongoing ammo shortage  is a prime example of the common reaction to a reduction of availability of an item. Ammunition is a highly essential item for both self-defense and hunting for off-the-grid and prepper families – but water is a necessity for everyone.