According to the USGS:
In 119 years of recorded history, 2013 was the driest calendar year for the state of California. On January 17, 2014 California State Governor, Jerry Brown, declared a drought state of emergency.
Snowpack, through runoff, provides about one-third of the water used by California’s cities and farms. On May 1, 2014, the Department of Water Resources released their final Snow Survey of the year results stating that the statewide snowpack’s water content is at 18% of normal. As of April 1, 2014, the California Department of Water Resources measured the statewide water content of snowpack at only 32% of the average historical April 1 snowpack measurement – crucial because this is when the snowpack is normally at its peak and begins to melt into streams and reservoirs.
Closely monitoring the effects of, and studying the current drought in the context of long-term hydrologic, climatic, and environmental changes, is essential for successful science-based planning and preparedness for future droughts.
A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. When rainfall is less than normal for several weeks, months, or years, the flow of streams and rivers declines, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought.
For more information from the USGS regarding the California Drought and its far-reaching impact go to ca.water.usgs.gov
In January, 2014 the Governor of California declared a drought State of Emergency.
Governor Brown has convened an interagency Drought Task Force to provide a coordinated assessment of the State’s dry conditions and provide recommendations on current and future state actions. The response to this statewide disaster requires the combined efforts of all state agencies and the state’s model mutual aid system to address.
In support of this unified effort, all state agencies with a role in supporting drought mitigation and relief efforts are organized under the Incident Command System and will continue provide emergency planning, response, and mitigation support as long as needs exist. Similar task forces have been assembled in the droughts of the 2000’s, 1990’s,
1980’s and 1970’s.
Tuolumne County Declares Local State of Emergency February 4, 2014
The following article, written by B.J. Hansen, is from the online news site MyMotherlode.com
Sonora, CA – Tuolumne County leaders are bringing attention to the record lack of rain and snow this season.
This morning the Board of Supervisors voted to declare a local “State of Emergency” due the drought. Representatives were on hand from the Tuolumne Utilities District, Twain Harte Community Services District and Groveland Community Services District.
T.U.D. General Manager Tom Scesa was asked by Supervisor Randy Hanvelt, about what is the “worst-case” scenario. Scesa said the District opened an emergency command center at the district office two weeks ago, where officials have looked into what would need to be done if no additional rainfall came this season. “We’re currently looking at getting water from New Melones, either by purchase or by contract, from a couple of water agencies and the federal government,” said Scesa. “We’re getting cooperation from various state and federal agencies to reduce the outflows from the reservoirs. We’re going to have to look at possibly constructing temporary water treatment plants. We’re looking at activating wells that haven’t been used, and we’re starting to test those and check the water quality.”
Scesa noted that T.U.D. has already started gathering materials to construct alternative treatment facilities. He said there have also been open conversations with the Twain Harte Community Services District, and Groveland Community Services District, to find collaborative ways to help each other. Scesa acknowledged that there are concerns that the district could run out of water if no more precipitation falls, and he is working to ensure that this does not become the case.
During the open comment session, former T.U.D. General Manager Pete Kampa, speaking on behalf of the Tuolumne County Building Industry, encouraged the county to promote water conservation. He also asked the county to take an active role in helping the effort to bring in additional water from New Melones. In addition, he encouraged the Supervisors to be aggressive in lobbying for additional water rights in the county, and new storage in additional areas.
The County Supervisors voted 5-0 to declare the local State of Emergency. By doing so, it opens the door to possible state and federal assistance.
As of July 9th, 2014, the Local Water District, GCSD, has moved to a 20% MANDATORY water consumption reduction.
To see how you can achieve 20% reduction in water usage, Groveland Community Services District has provided a very helpful graphic on their website. We recommend you view their entire website by clicking here where you will find more helpful information.
California Interactive Drought Monitor Map
Other helpful links: