Dry year spurs new conservation orders for 2014

Rich Pedroncelli/AP file photoCalifornians are being asked to water their lawns less

December has been one of the driest months in one of the driest years ever recorded in California, which is spurring some cities and counties in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region to issue water conservation orders earlier than usual.

The city of Folsom on Monday imposed a mandatory 20-percent water conservation order, while Sacramento County has also asked residents in unincorporated areas to reduce water use by 20 percent.

The cities of Roseville and Sacramento are also likely to consider similar measures in early January, according to the Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/JCzjwZ).

If no rain falls in the remaining days of 2013, it could rank as the driest calendar year in state history. The northern Sierra Nevada, an area where snowpack is key to the state's water picture, has received only 10 percent of its average snowfall this month

While a drought has not been declared by Gov. Jerry Brown, he has assembled a task force to monitor and advise him on the issue.

It would take a series of big storms in 2014 to reduce the threat, leading most water experts to believe a drought declaration imminent.

“Even if we pick up with normal weather conditions in January, soil moisture is so low that runoff will be low because the soil will just suck up a lot of that precipitation,” Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager at the state Department of Water Resources, told the Bee.

The issue of low water supply in reservoirs is not only bad news for people, but for fish too.

Folsom Lake dropped below 20 percent of its capacity last week, an historic low.

That means the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is planning to reduce water releases from the dam into the American River, which could kill Chinook salmon eggs if the river's levels drop too low.

“From a fishery perspective, it's a really tough balancing act,” Tom Gohring, executive director of coalition of local water agencies and environmental groups called Water Forum in Sacramento. “It's not a stretch to say people are on alert.”

CaliforniaCalifornia NewsdroughtSacramento-San Joaquin Delta

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Riders should expect big changes when Muni rail returns in August

Reconfigured routes will mean fewer, longer trains through tunnel

New audio of couple calling police on SF man bolsters racial bias claims, supe says

Pacific Heights incident spurred CAREN Act to outlaw discriminatory reports to police

SFUSD students may start the school year at home

Staff report recommends starting with distance learning in the fall, transitioning to hybrid model

Universities fight new immigration restrictions on international students in court

Local colleges are scrambling to keep international students in the country as… Continue reading

SF library plans to reopen with pickup and drop-off services

Since March, all 28 library locations in San Francisco have been closed… Continue reading

Most Read