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.
Record dry January expected in many Northern and Central California cities as drought drops reservoir levels.
The California Department of Water Resources says the state’s snowpack is “dismally meager.” A lack of snow in the Sierra is keeping rivers low and drying up some reservoirs.
The City of Roseville is yanking grass and replacing it with drought-resistant landscaping to conserve water. Roseville also offers homeowners a 'Cash For Grass' rebate program.
The City of Sacramento says water customers in 2014 "cut water use to the lowest level per person per day in 100 years."
Salmon rely on cool water temperatures and aquatic plants to survive. So California’s drought has hit them particularly hard. But UC Davis researchers have found one area where the fish are flourishing.
The United States Department of Agriculture says January is shaping up to be another dry month in the Lake Tahoe area and that signals an unprecedented fourth year of drought.
(AP) - Federal science officials say that for the third time in a decade, the globe sizzled to the hottest year on record.