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.
As the California drought worsens, more rodents are encroaching on homes and farms in search of water. Animal shelters are advertising feral cats as a 'green' pest control alternative to poisons or traps.
The City of Sacramento wants to create a groundwater master plan that would include drilling more wells.
At least seven large holes have appeared on the Sacramento State campus in recent days. The construction is part of a new special runoff filtration system.
The California Department of Water Resources released a video this week and suggested that the state faces a scary future and potential fifth year of drought.
Citrus growers in California's Central Valley say they expect to fallow between 7 and 9 percent of the state's 270,000 acres of citrus trees because of the drought.