California Drought Intensifies!
Reservoirs Low, Fire Activity High, Water Use Restrictions May Increase
The California drought has not abated at all, and if anything, it’s intensifying as we move into the summer months of July and August. The sierra snowpack is virtually non-existent, many California reservoir are down in the 45-50 percent of normal range and CalFire is reporting almost 2,500 wild fires so far, compared to an average of about 1,600 for this time of year.
All this information is available in a weekly drought briefing that several California agencies jointly put together. It is usually updated on Monday. Some additional information from this week’s edition:
Several different drought-related grant programs are available to counties. CalFire has been tapped to administer a $10 million grant fund that will help counties and local fire councils with fire prevention programs. The $10 million in funds will be awarded through a one-time grant process. There’s more information available in this news article.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has begun accepting applications for its State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), which provides $10 million in competitive grant funding for water and energy conservation measures on California farms.
The California Department of Water Resources also issued draft guidelines for its Water-Energy grant program, which provides $19 million to local water agencies for an array of efficiency projects. Both programs were enabled by emergency drought legislation passed into law in March.
The State Water Resources Control Board is considering stronger water conservation requirements. The Water Board’s statewide survey of water agencies’ conservation actions, showed slightly reduced water use in May. The Board staff is drafting emergency regulations to increase water conservation statewide for consideration by the Water Board at its July 15 meeting.
The state’s water conservation campaign, Save Our Water, has launched a new user-friendly website that can be easily accessed by phones and other personal devices: www.SaveOurWater.com The site promotes a new “Don’t Waste Summer” campaign and provides a new conservation tip each day for the 100 days of summer.
The drought remains a serious and complex issue for all levels of government to manage, and information is one of the best tools at our disposal. CSAC urges California Counties to continue checking the weekly drought briefing for the latest on conditions, conservation, public messaging and events.