Richard Stapler with the California Natural Resources Agency says the recent stormy weather just wasn’t enough.
“It has barely made a dent in what California requires for any given year,” says Stapler. “We’ve had two previous very dry years. This year we’re in record territory as far as lack of precipitation.”
Stapler says the latest snowpack measurements are at just 20-percent of normal for this time of year.
Drought-stricken farmers will get state and federal help to drill groundwater wells.
The state will also temporarily order northern reservoirs to preserve more water than usual. That would allow fresh water to continue through the San Francisco Bay Delta. People, fish and animals depend on that water.
Legislation introduced in the California state Assembly would create the Lower American River Conservancy to improve, protect, preserve and possibly expand the 5,000-acre American River Parkway.
January brought above-average rainfall and snow to much of California, partly due to El Niño. But forecasters say the ocean warming condition is "taking a break" for the next week or longer.
The U.S. Drought Monitor says, other than a slight reduction in exceptional drought in the northern Sierra, it needs more time to assess impacts of the recent moisture on California's long-term drought.
California regulators have made modest adjustments to water conservation requirements for cities.
The second measurement this winter of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada was 130 percent of average. State water officials say the snowpack will help reservoir recovery.