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Posted by feww on February 2, 2014




57 California Counties Declared Crop Disaster Areas

All but one of the 58 counties in the state of California have been declared Crop Disaster Areas due to Extreme Drought conditions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 57 counties in the state of California as crop disaster areas due to the worsening drought, since the beginning of the year.

US crop disaster map as of 29jan14
Crop Disaster Map CY-2014  dated January 29, 2014. Source: USDA/FSA

Imperial County, located Southeast of California in the Imperial Valley, bordering both Arizona and Mexico, is currently covered by D0-D1 drought conditions, but has not yet been designated as a drought disaster area.

California is currently experiencing its worst drought on record. In 2013 California experienced its driest year since records began 120 years ago.

State of Emergency

Governor Brown proclaimed a State of Emergency on January 27  amid the worsening statewide drought.  He called the “really serious,” adding that 2014 could be California’s third consecutive dry year. “In many ways it’s a mega-drought.”

Image of the Day: “Lake Yesterday”

lake yesterday - california - noaa
“Lake Yesterday,” California. Image credit: NOAA

Precipitation Monitoring: 90-Day Accumulation Ending February 1, 2014

90-day acc ending 2feb2014
Precipitation Monitoring –  90-Day Accumulation Ending February 1, 2014. Source: NWS/NCEP/CPC/

 Soil Moisture Anomaly – January 2014

soil moisture mm noaa
 Soil Moisture Anomaly (mm)  – January 2014.  Source: NOAA/ CPC

U.S. Drought Monitor

Nearly 9 percent of California is covered by Exception Drought (D4 drought level), more than 58 percent by Extreme Drought (D3 drought level), about  23 percent by Sever Drought (D2 drought level) and over 9 percent of the state experiencing Abnormally Dry to Moderate Drought conditions as of last week.

The land area covered by Extreme Drought (D3 drought level) has more than doubled since January 7, 2014.

calif drought 28jan2014
California Drought Map as of January 28, 2014. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor.

‘Extreme’ and ‘Exceptional Drought’ levels are plaguing California, threatening at least 17 communities with water famine.

Severe Drought Prompts Worst-Ever Water Supply Forecast for California

“Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project,” said the director of California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

DWR is securing what little water remains in the state’s reservoirs in response to the worsening drought and strong likelihood of more severe water shortages in the coming months.

The agency announced Friday that they took actions to conserve the state’s dwindling resources, as a result of which, “everyone—farmers, fish, and people in our cities and towns —will get less water.”

“This historic announcement reflects the severity of California’s drought. After two previous dry years, 2014 is shaping up as the driest in state history,” said DWR.

  • On Thursday, Sierra snow survey found the snowpack’s statewide water content was only 12 percent of average for this time of year.
  • Water levels in key reservoirs now are lower than at this time in 1977, one of the two previous driest water years on record.
    • Lake Oroville in Butte County, the principal SWP reservoir, is at 36 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity (55 percent of its historical average for the date).
    • Shasta Lake north of Redding, California’s and the federal Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, is also at 36 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity (54 percent of average for the date).
    • San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta reservoir for both the SWP and CVP, is just 30 percent of its 2 million acre-foot capacity (39 percent of average for the date).

calif resv conds
California Current Reservoir Conditions. Source: DWR

Zero Allocation

DWR has never before announced a zero allocation in the 54-year history of the State Water Project to all 29 public water agencies that buy from the SWP. These deliveries help supply water to 25 million Californians and roughly 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.

The agency forecast in late December that it would be able to deliver only 5 percent of about 4 million acre-feet of State Water Project water requested by the 29 public water agencies that purchase water from the project. They are located in Northern California, the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast, and Southern California.

The 5 percent projected allocation has now reduced to zero.

calif avg precip
Statewide Average Precipitation – by water year. Source DWR.

Links to the State websites:

Related Links

FIRE-EARTH 2009 Forecast: Desertification of California in the Near Future Is Almost a Certainty

[NOTE: The above forecast and most of the links posted below have previously been filtered by Google, WordPress and others. Editor ]

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