Water Board Proposes Drought

Water Board Proposes Drought

July 23, 2013

Possible Drought?

State Water Board Thinks So

Yes, the reservoirs are slowly emptying and many crops are not getting enough water because of severely reduced allocations. But the reason is not due to a drought. The fact is that this year’s rain (pink line) is not that far off an average year (black dotted line).

The average of eight precipitation stations serves as a wetness index

for the Sacramento River hydrologic region, where most of the state’s rain occurs.

The eight-station index provides a representative sample of the region's major watersheds, which are: the upper Sacramento, Feather, Yuba, and American Rivers, which produce inflow to some of California's largest reservoirs

- the source of much of our water supply.  The eight stations are:

Blue Canyon, Brush Creek Ranger Station, Mineral, Mount Shasta City, Pacific House, Quincy Ranger Station, Shasta Dam, and Sierraville Ranger Station.

Seasonal runoff forecasts are based on many more measurements than

this index, including snowpack and prior streamflow. And yes, the seasonal forecasts are a more accurate measure of water supply, but great consideration must be made to the nearly one million acre-feet released to the ocean last winter for “flood control” instead of to storage. This is due to the biological opinion that restricts turning on the pumps that move the water to storage.

Again, there are many ways to characterize a drought. But the most accurate definition describing the situation in California this year can only be titled,  "A Congressional Drought!"

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