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.
(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.
California water regulators are praising some Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta farmers for coming up with a program to voluntarily cut water use.
(AP) - A deadly parasite is thriving in the drought, infecting all the juvenile chinook salmon in the Klamath River in Northern California as they prepare to migrate to the ocean.
The State Water Resources Control Board is considering whether to allow some farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to voluntarily cut back their water use. In exchange, they want the board to agree not to curtail their remaining water.
After it was called off in 2014 due to the drought, Old Town Sacramento's Gold Rush Days is back in 2015.
For the first time in its history, the city of Roseville is limiting outdoor watering to two days a week.
Governor Jerry Brown has proposed an additional $ 2 billion in his revised budget to help California respond to the drought.