California In A Drought - Who Knew?


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According to records maintained by the Enterprise-Record, California is in the middle of a drought. Few people are aware of how bad the drought really is and officials say that the real threat could be in the near future. Nine of California’s 12 major reservoirs are below 50 percent capacity and in some areas like Chico, as little as 3.45 inches of rain has fallen since July 1st, 2012.

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture and representatives from the California Department of Water Resources and State Water Resources Control Board will be meeting next week to discuss just how bad the drought is currently and could become during the warmer months of the year. They will also be working on plans to deal with the drought not only now, but if and when it becomes more severe.

“We are sounding the alarm on behalf of the agricultural industry,” said Craig McNamara, president of the state’s food and agriculture board. “With the strong potential that California is entering its third dry year, we need to start planning now to minimize long-term impacts.”

Experts say that the drought could mean severe problems for many people in California, especially farmers. A severe drought could lead to land fallowing and unsustainable groundwater overdraft that could prevent crops from growing properly or at all. Livestock farmers who raise their livestock on natural pastures are already having to pump ground water into water troughs for their animals in some dryer areas of the state.

In other areas, the effects of the drought are not severe and in some ways, beneficial. Less rain means less tree disease in Butte County's orchards and better conditions for workers to maintain the trees and fruits.

After Tuesday's meeting, more farmers will be made aware of the drought and be able to develop plans to protect their farm and livelihood.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.