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.
Rain and snow may not have pushed California out of its drought, but the late season precipitation will mean a little more water for State Water Project users. There is also relief for some federal Central Valley Project users.
A new survey finds Californians are split over the cause of the state's drought.
Hundreds of waterfalls are cascading throughout Yosemite National Park, but they may not last too much longer.
California and federal agencies have released a plan about how they’ll operate the state and federal water projects during the drought. The plan does not change water allocations.
(AP) -- A bill moving in the California Legislature now would protect people in homeowner associations from retribution if they reduce water use for landscaping.
Sacramento is still experiencing a drought -- but it broke a rainfall record yesterday. Folsom Lake now stands at 71 percent of seasonal normal.
Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is one-third of what it should be this time of year. Despite that, state and federal water managers say they will take advantage of recent precipitation and send more water to central and southern California.