February first is the date of the next snow survey. And water managers say unless California sees significant rain or snow, a drought proclamation is expected.
“My belief is that we will have a drought proclamation," says Mark Cowin, Director of Water Resources. "The signs are pretty clear at this point. The remaining question is, ‘what do we need to put in that drought proclamation that will actually, beyond the messaging, help us deal with the impending crisis.’”
Federal reservoir levels keep dropping.
“Most of our reservoirs are way down for this time of year," says Paul Fujitani, with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. "They’re all well under what we have seen for the past 15 years,”
It’s a grim scenario for farmers.
“What I think it means particularly in the San Joaquin Valley is the fallowing of possibly 300,000 to 500,000 acres," says Craig McNamara, President of the Board of Food and Agriculture. "That’s an area that’s spans almost 700 square miles.”
That wouldn’t just hurt farmers, but also farm workers. California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross says that was made abundantly clear during the last drought.
“We saw it in 2009 with much more demand for food bank assistance, for rental assistance, and what it did to the businesses in those small towns it has a big ripple effect and it’s happening in some of our most stressed counties and that’s the part that worries me the most,” says Ross.
Water agencies are also worried. Jason Peltier with the Westlands Water District says he’s telling water users that they should brace for a 0-percent water allocation.
"If I sound apocalyptic, it’s because we have an obligation to plan for and expect the worst case scenario, we can’t hope for better conditions and operate that way."
A drought proclamation would make it easier to relax water quality standards and streamline water transfers. But some water districts say conditions are so dry, even finding water to transfer might be difficult.
Spring storms help Sierra Nevada snowpack, but there is no reduction in drought conditions in California and Nevada.
More "Spare The Air" alerts may be issued this year in the Sacramento region because the Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the federal ozone health standard.
Weather permitting, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and the U.S. Forest Service may continue prescribed fire operations starting Monday in areas around Lake Tahoe.
(AP) — Storms brought deep snow to the mountains that feed the vital Colorado River this season, but the dried-out landscape will soak up some of it before it can reach the river.
(AP) - California water managers say they're easing cutbacks as spring storms boost reservoirs in the state's five-year drought.
Water supply was a worry in 2015 at two vineyards in Amador County that rely on groundwater. But after a near-normal winter in northern California, the grape growers are breathing a sigh of relief – at least for this season.
Extreme and exceptional drought eased in California last week and for the first time since the week of July 2013, there is no exceptional drought in Nevada.