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The Consequences of Drought

By  Valerie Nera 

It’s official, California is in another drought cycle as are most of the western states. A look at the U.S. Drought Monitor shows a state mostly in shades of red.

The Governor has declared a drought emergency for 41 of the state’s 58 counties. The State Water Resources Control Board notified some water rights holders that they will not be able to draw surface water this year. The Bureau of Reclamation changed its allocation amount to zero for its agricultural water contractors. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is sounding the alarm that migrating salmon are in dire trouble with river water likely too hot for their survival. Local water agencies and districts are sending notices to their customers to conserve water and in some areas to reduce water usage by at least 10%. All this and it’s just the beginning of the summer season when temperatures reach 100 degrees in many parts of the state. The wildfire season is already underway.

With the Governor’s drought emergency declaration, the State Water Resources Control sent letters to thousands of junior water rights holder to stop drawing water from rivers. At the same time, the Department of Water Resources is preparing to install a $30 million rock barrier on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to keep salt water from encroaching into the freshwater estuary contaminating drinking water and damaging agricultural fields. Northern California reservoirs show diminishing water levels, making it difficult to supply cold water to send down the rivers to help migrating salmon and still provide water for municipal and agricultural uses. Wildlife refugees will not be receiving any water, putting many species in jeopardy.  Read More

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