We all know that California is hurting this year. No rain, no snow, big fires, and a simply bizarre winter. If you can call it winter. Record highs have littered the state with Sacramento hitting 70 degrees three straight days in January.
The Huffington Post got a bit swarmy with there whole “Direst in 500 Years” thing, but lets here them out. Here are a few excerpts from there article.
Seventeen rural communities in California are in danger of running out of water within 60 to 120 days, according to a list compiled by state officials. As the drought goes on, more communities are likely to be added to the list.
With only about seven inches of rain in California in 2013 — far below the average of 22 inches — wells are running dry and many reservoirs are about 30 percent full (including Folsom Lake, shown above).
The Sierra snowpack, where California gets about a third of its water, was 88 percent below average as of Jan. 30. Some are concerned thatthe diminished snowmelt is causing more pumping of contaminated groundwater, particularly in disadvantaged areas such as California’s San Joaquin Valley.
California’s $45 billion agriculture business accounts for 15 percent of U.S. crop sales. But this year, farmers fear they may lose their entire crops. That could cause food prices to go up for most Americans. Some farmers are paying the expensive price of scarce water to irrigate crops. Others, unable to afford water, have been forced to leave fields fallow.
Ranchers are struggling to feed livestock, as there is much less grass. Some have been paying more for alternative feed. Others have had to sell portions of their herd. In California’s vineyard capital, Napa Valley, wine grape growers said some vines are ripening early. Farmers are planning fewer crops to save water.
California has a large ski industry, but this year, there’s hardly any snow. Nearly all the snow at major resorts in Lake Tahoe, Mammoth and other parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains this month was made with expensive snow-making machines. If it wasn’t for the machines, which require a lot of water and compressed air, the resorts would probably have to close. Many small, family-owned resorts have already shut. Yosemite National Park, which normally attracts skiers this time of year, is offering summer-like hikes and horseback riding instead.
Read the full article here: