The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will release less water from Nimbus Dam to the lower American River due to the dry winter conditions.
Flows in the river will go from 1100 cubic feet per second down to 500 cubic feet per second by Friday. The Bureau says the reduction is needed to protect fish and drinking water behind Folsom Dam.
The water content of the Sierra snowpack is about 20 percent of average for this time of year. California estimates it will only be able to deliver 5 percent of the water requested by 29 public agencies this year.
Last year, California saw everything from intense drought to torrential rain. Researchers and water agencies say that the future of the state’s drought depends on adapting to these shifts.
As the drought dries up California’s wetlands, traveling birds such as ducks, geese and eagles are struggling to survive and breed. “This drought is bad. The odds are against us,” a state expert said.
Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape.
About 4,300 users were issued notices to halt diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Experts say the current drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, meaning water is evaporating faster.
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