California Water Crisis Far From Over

February 25, 2009 7:15:51 PM PST
Valley farmers got a reality check Wednesday morning: California's water crisis is far from over.                       |   Download Detailed Drought Information   |

In addition to more rain, Valley farmers want lawmakers to increase California's water storage. The farmers got an official update from the state regarding how recent wet weather has impacted the drought. The news is not good: we've gone from facing a catastrophic drought to a moderate one.

Acres and acres of farm land sit abandoned- not enough water to keep crops alive. Everyone from the farmer to the farm worker demanded action. Farm worker Sofia Chavez asked the State Board of Food and Agriculture for help, but Wendy Martin with the Department of Water Resources gave grim news, "We expect the next 10 days to be wet, but they are not going to be huge rain makers."

Recent Valley rains are not enough to solve the drought. On average year, California's rain and snow index reaches 50 inches. As of February 24, we've accumulated 29.1 inches. The numbers indicate the state is only half way to achieving an average rain-snowfall. Another problem, the rains never flowed into the reservoirs. Statewide most reservoirs sit well below 50-percent full. Martin said, "What happened in January is essentially the water shed had completely dried out. All the soil was dry. There was no inflow. The storms that we've had gone primary to rewetting the water shed."

With that news, farmers will be forced to abandon more crops. Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson said, "The central valley has the three top producing Ag counties in the nation. From Kern County to San Joaquin County, it is a regional catastrophe."

The board is expected to take all of Wednesday's public comments to eventually press the state government to increase water storage somehow.

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