Butte County Drought Information


California is entering its third year of drought and as dry conditions continue throughout California and Butte County, conservation of water for all purposes is increasingly important. The 2022 Water Year, which began on October 1, 2021, produced significantly less precipitation and snowpack through April 2022. This year will be another critically dry year as the majority of the state is experiencing drought conditions. Droughts are a natural disaster and surviving any natural disaster requires planning and preparation. Information contained in this site is designed to help you prepare and respond. 

Butte County Office of Emergency Management Drought Updates

Butte County Drought Assistance Program

The Butte County Drought Assistance Program will provide drinking water deliveries to residents without access to clean water. The first phase of the project will provide up to 5000 gallons per month per household for residents who have a storage tank. The second phase will provide temporary storage tanks to residents who don’t have them already installed. 

There are three ways to sign up for the program:

  • Call the Butte County Office of Emergency Management at 530.552.3333
  • Visit the Butte County Office of Emergency Management located at 25 County Center Drive, Suite 213 in Oroville

This program is free to all qualifying residents of Butte County. If you have questions about how the program works or would like further information please call 530.552.3333 Monday thru Friday from 8am to 4pm. 

Wondering about Groundwater Levels in your Area? 

If you have a well in the valley, visit California’s Groundwater Live and select “Groundwater Levels” and then “Current Groundwater Conditions” to use the mapping application to view the depth to groundwater in your neighborhood based on groundwater level conditions measured in monitoring wells.

For even more detail on each well, click on the dot representing the well on the map, scroll to the bottom of the pop up box and click on “Groundwater Level Report” and then on “Groundwater Level Data”. You can also call 530-552-3595 for help navigating the site.

Tutorials are also available at: https://sgma.water.ca.gov/CalGWLive/about.htm

Drought Impact Analysis Study-Released May 2022

As drought conditions continue to persist throughout the western United States, Butte County not only wants to assess the overall impact of the drought, including the evaluation of the economic impacts but also continue to develop efficient and systematic processes that results in short and long-term reduction in drought impacts to the citizens, economy, and environment in the Northern Sacramento Valley. The purpose of the Drought Impact Analysis Study is to document 2021 conditions specifically related to water transfers, groundwater demand, groundwater levels, evaluate the economic impacts on stakeholders and provide recommendations on next steps to improve drought resiliency in the region.

Tracking the Drought

A number of agencies are tracking the drought, water conditions, impacts, and available resources to help municipalities, households, and farmers. 

California Water Watch
(Track the latest water conditions)

State of California-California Drought Action
(State drought information/news)

California Department of Water Resources-Drought
(DWR drought information/news)

US Drought Monitor
(US drought conditions map)

National Integrated Drought Information System-Butte County
(County drought conditions)

National Drought Mitigation Center
(Drought education, planning and monitoring)

Association of California Water Agencies
(CA public water agency advocate)


Butte County Drought Response

In 2004, the Butte County Board of Supervisors adopted the Drought Preparedness and Mitigation Plan through Resolution 04-200. As dry conditions continue throughout California and Butte County, conservation of water for all purposes is increasingly important. The State Water Project allocation is currently 5% and irrigation districts in the County have received a 50% cut-back to their water supplies. These districts include Biggs-West Gridley Water District. Richvale Irrigation District, Butte Water District, and Sutter Extension Water District. Additionally, the West Side Sacramento River Settlement contractors are cut back to 18%.

Drought Task Force

A major element of the Drought Preparedness and Mitigation Plan was the creation of the Drought Task Force (DTF), which is comprised of various Butte County Department Directors and others in the County. The DTF monitors hydrologic conditions in Butte County throughout the water year and reports the findings to the Water Commission and Board of Supervisors annually in non-drought situations and biannually, quarterly, or monthly as the drought progresses. Through the DTF, the Board of Supervisors receives recommendations and actions that the County should take. 

Water District Websites

Western Canal Water District

Richvale Irrigation District

Butte Water District

Biggs-West Gridley Water District

South Feather Water and Power

Thermalito Water and Sewer District

Cal Water- Chico

Cal Water- Oroville

Del Oro Water Company

Durham Irrigation District

Gran Mutual Water Company

Lake Madrone Water District

Paradise Irrigation District

To find which water district you fall under, look at the Butte County Water Districts Map.


Resources to Assist Residents

Butte County residents experiencing reduced well activity, or wells that have gone dry, have several options for assistance through County, State and Federal Programs. 

Financial Resources

The programs listed below are designed to serve low-to-moderate income residents. Current opportunities include grants and competitive loan options

Butte County Housing Rehabilitation Program

The County operates a Housing Rehabilitations Loan Program serving low-to-moderate income residents in the unincorporated area of the County. Housing Rehabilitation projects are intended to bring a property up to health and safety standards, including ensuring running hot and cold water is accessible inside the home. Residents may also contact the Regional Housing Authority (530.671.0220, ext. 128) with questions about the program. 

USDA Rural Housing Programs

The USDA has two programs for rural residents that may assist with potable water access issues. Section 502 is a Rural Housing Direct Loan Program for low-income residents. Section 504 is a Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Loan and Grant Program targeting very low-income residents offering loans, grants, or a combination of the two. Both programs are available to many Butte County residents. 

Clean Drinking Water Well Replacement Program

The State Water Resources Control Board awarded funds to the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to provide low-income households with grants to support drinking water access. Individual household wells and small water systems are eligible. There is also a low interest rate loan/grant program to assist individual households in the refurbishing, replacement or construction of a household water well or septic system. Additional information can be obtained on the RCAC website

Agricultural Resources

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have designated Butte County for Drought Assistance through a USDA Disaster Designation and an SBA Drought Declaration. Several forms of assistance are available to farmers, ranchers, and small businesses who conduct family-sized farming operations or those that work in the agriculture industry. The application deadline for drought assistance programs through USDA and SBA is December 8, 2022. 

USDA Farm Service Agency Programs and Services

USDA Emergency Farm Loans are available for both physical and crop production losses as a direct result of the drought disaster. 

SBA Disaster Assistance

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for small non-farm businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, and most private non-profit organizations. 

What other information is available for agricultural users?

The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is working to help farmers cope with the unwelcome outcome of recent drought conditions. There are several links with information and resources for agriculture, rangeland, and urban landscapes. A few of their resources include a Water and Drought Online Seminar Series, information on Climate Smart Agriculture, and a list of crop specific resources

Additional websites with information and resources for agricultural users include: 

University of California-UC Drought Management

California Department of Food and Agriculture- California Drought Assistance 

Natural Resources Conservation Service California 

Water Conditions

Well Owners