It was a very dry year in California

2013 was the driest year on-record for California: Los Angeles which normally gets around 15 inches of rain a year got 4: San Francisco where 22 inches is the norm got 6, Santa Cruz normally gets 30 inches, they got 5.

The latest National Drought Monitor has 87.5 percent of the Golden State in severe drought with 28.5 percent in extreme drought. Add to that, the state’s Water Resources Project says the water content of the mountain snowpack is about 20 percent of normal. Reservoirs in that system are at 66 percent of normal, Shasta Lake, the state’s largest, is down to 37 percent of capacity.

Those reservoirs supply the water for much of California from San Francisco-south; including the San Joaquin Valley. In November, the California Water Resources Department announced it would only fill 5 percent of the orders from local water agencies.

Normally, December is one of the wetter months in California but that didn’t happen this year but state Climatologist Michael Anderson says in past years, a dry December led to storms in January; “Or we can get a miracle in March that bails us out a little.” The National Weather Service is predicting the drought will continue into early spring.

Governor Jerry Brown has established a Drought Task Force to review water allocations. The situation is certainly going to intensify an already heated battle for water between agriculture and municipalities in the state.


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