Saturday, April 14, 2007

Drought in California

It appears that, at least for part of California, a drought is here, but it's raining in Sacramento today, so go figure.

There's no doubt: It's a drought
By Julie Sevrens Lyons
Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched:04/12/2007 01:31:25 AM PDT

It's official: For the first time in 15 years, the Bay Area has entered into a drought, according to national climate experts.

In a new assessment being released today on the spread and severity of the dry spell affecting the Southwest, drought experts say most of California is experiencing at least "moderate" drought conditions. A wide swath of Southern California is being plagued by a "severe" drought and could face major crop and pasture losses and widespread water shortages or restrictions.

Despite Wednesday's stormy weather, rainfall totals in the Bay Area remain at about half of what they should be this time of year, and the Sierra Nevada snowpack - the source of much of California's tap water - is faring even worse.

"This is a serious situation," said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb. "And we have a feeling that we're underplaying, right now, the situation."

But some state water officials said they aren't using the dreaded "D" word - yet.
Even as some local cities and water districts begin to call for conservation, we are nowhere near a crisis point, said experts with the state's Department of Water Resources.