Richard Stapler with the California Natural Resources Agency says the recent stormy weather just wasn’t enough.
“It has barely made a dent in what California requires for any given year,” says Stapler. “We’ve had two previous very dry years. This year we’re in record territory as far as lack of precipitation.”
Stapler says the latest snowpack measurements are at just 20-percent of normal for this time of year.
Drought-stricken farmers will get state and federal help to drill groundwater wells.
The state will also temporarily order northern reservoirs to preserve more water than usual. That would allow fresh water to continue through the San Francisco Bay Delta. People, fish and animals depend on that water.
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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