The results are in and no surprise — California’s lean snowpack means a third year of drought for the state whose farms supply about half the nation’s fruit and vegetables.
The state’s survey clocks in at 81 percent of normal water content in the snow, with the state fearing early spring heat could melt the white stuff, leaving fewer reserves later in the summer when they are most needed. Plus a National Marine Fisheries Service report, called a biological opinion, may trigger more conservation measures to protect salmon and steelhead, cutting water left for farms and homes.
Things have improved a tinge since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a drought emergency in February, but the state, eyeing climate change, is preparing for a dry 2010 and says that statewide storage is about 5 million acre feet below average. Since one acre foot is enough for a household or two for a year, that’s a lot.