Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada should be at its peak this time of year. But the water content for the snow is just 32-percent of average. Frank Gehrke with the California Department of Water Resources says the recent snow can be deceptive.
“It’s very unlikely that we’ll get anything after this. It’s certainly not the improvement that would have been needed to get anywhere close to reasonable conditions for water supply next spring and summer,” says Gehrke.
Snowmelt is carried through rivers and reservoirs and delivered south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through the state and federal water projects. DWR Director Mark Cowin says recent precipitation hasn’t ended the drought. But it will provide some temporary relief. He says the department will quadruple the amount of water it pumps south for at least a week.
“The adjustment will remain in effect as long as the rivers carrying storm water into the Delta continue to run relatively high," says Cowin.
Kate Poole, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the move violates the agencies’ obligation to protect threatened and endangered fish. She says there are reasons pumping levels should be low this time of year.
“By ignoring those requirements and ramping up pumping right now what the agencies are doing is pulling those salmon and steelhead off their migratory path and into the pumps where they die,” says Poole.The National Marine Fisheries Service says the change will still protect migrating steelhead and other fish. It says the adjustments are based on sound science.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and meteorologists in other countries show that strong-to-moderate El Niño conditions are present in the tropical Pacific. But it won't end the drought in California.
Stream fishing around Lake Tahoe and western Nevada is struggling because of the drought. But fishing may actually be better at the lake itself.
The U.S. Forest Service has wrapped up its hiring for firefighters to work on California's 18 national forests this summer.
The drought in California is causing saltwater to intrude deep into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Water managers are constructing a rock barrier to prevent salt from affecting drinking water for millions of Californians.
(AP) - The drought that's gripping California is beginning to reshape the landscaping industry. Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for Californians to remove 50 million square feet of turf to save water.