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.
Governor Jerry Brown’s new proposal to allow local water agency employees to fine California water wasters up to $10,000 without going to court is creating fears of government overreach.
The American Lung Association's annual air quality report said many California cities have some of the worst air pollution in the country.
California cities, counties and water agencies could fine water wasters up to $10,000 – without going through the court system – under a new proposal from Governor Jerry Brown.
California Governor Jerry Brown is giving water agencies and cities more power to enforce conservation requirements.
Some areas in the Sacramento region will have to reduce water use by 36 percent under proposed emergency drought rules from state water regulators. How urban suppliers will reach that goal varies. Enforcement is likely to increase everywhere.
(AP) - State regulators are ordering some farms to stop pumping from streams for the second year in a row.
As California enters the dry season, the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows one category expanding.