2014 California Drought Information
You may have been hearing increased chatter recently about the current drought. The first DWR snow survey of the year was performed on Friday, January 3. There is an article in the New York Times about the impact of a third drought year on Colorado River water supply allocations. And many people have begun to speculate on what a third year of drought might mean for their California communities.
We thought we would begin a discussion of drought impacts in the Inyo-Mono region by providing information on the current drought through this webpage. We hope that, by improving access to drought-related information, we can help water managers in the region prepare for and respond to drought impacts. We will continue to post updated information on this page as it becomes available.
- The first CA Department of Water Resources snow survey for the 2013-2014 winter occurred on Friday, January 3, 2014. Measurements at several sites showed that overall water content of snowpack in the state is at just 20% of average. More information can be found here: http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/010314.pdf
- The California Department of Water Resources has put up its own webpage providing information about current water/snowpack conditions and the drought specific to California: http://www.water.ca.gov/waterconditions/drought/#
- Similarly, DWR issues Bulletin 120 four times a year to provide conditions related to precipitation and snowpack and to forecast runoff for the spring: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/bulletin120/index.html
- DWR has mobilized a drought management team to plan for and deal with further drought conditions if they arise: http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2013/121713.pdf
- The California State Water Resources Control Board has created its own website for drought: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/index.shtml
- The SWRCB has also posted a notice of surface water shortages and potential for curtailment of surface water diversions: notice_of_curtailment._SWCBdrought2014
- The California Rural Water Association has put together a drought preparedness website with access to all sorts of resources and information related to the impacts of drought on small water systems in California: http://www.cadroughtprep.net/index.htm
- The Secretary of Agriculture has designated 27 California counties as primary natural disaster areas due to drought. All four counties of the Inyo-Mono IRWM Program (Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, and Kern) are included in this list. This designation makes available certain assistance and resources to farm operators in those counties. View the letter and map.
- Locally, the University of California Cooperative Extension for Inyo and Mono Counties has listed drought impacts to local activities, such as grazing, farming, and gardening: http://ceinyo-mono.ucanr.edu/Drought_Resources/
- Inyo County has declared a local drought emergency. Read the proclamation.
- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power maintains a webpage with current water and snowpack conditions in the Eastern Sierra and other information relevant to the Los Angeles Aqueduct: https://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/faces/ladwp/aboutus/a-water/a-w-losangelesaqueduct/a-w-laa-laaqueductconditionsreports. On the left side of the webpage, you can link to other types of information relevant to the Owens Valley and Eastern Sierra.
- The January 6, 2014, New York Times article concerning Colorado River current status and problems related to allocation: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/us/colorado-river-drought-forces-a-painful-reckoning-for-states.html?hp
- A meteorological explanation of the lack of precipitation experienced in the last year was written and posted by Weather West: http://www.weatherwest.com/archives/1038
- An article on the record-breaking nature of the drought in California in 2013: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2014/commentary/editorial-in-the-circle-fresh-focus/californias-historically-dry-2013-redefines-drought/
- The National Drought Mitigation Center has a Drought Management Database with information specific to particular sectors (water, agriculture, ecosystems, etc.): http://drought.unl.edu/droughtmanagement/Home.aspx
- We can learn from recent droughts of the past. Read DWR’s report “California’s Drought of 2007-2009” here: http://www.water.ca.gov/waterconditions/drought/docs/DroughtReport2010.pdf
- There is a U.S. Drought Portal that contains information about drought throughout the country. You can put in your zip code to get a local drought snapshot, which includes information on drought meter, drought monitor intensity, temperature, precipitation, and the Palmer Drought Severity Index: http://drought.gov/drought/
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has put up a Disaster and Drought Information webpage specific to the west coast drought, which includes information on resources available to help cope with drought: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=DISASTER_ASSISTANCE
Don’t forget about the Great Basin Weather and Climate Dashboard. It provides easy access to all sorts of tools and images depicting recent and current conditions and future forecasts: http://www.gbdash.dri.edu/index.php
If you find other information you think should be provided on or linked from this page, send it to Holly Alpert at firstname.lastname@example.org.