California Feels the Heat
Posted on Jun 4, 2008
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it official: California is in a drought. It’s the first official drought declaration for the Golden State in 17 years. Schwarzenegger has threatened water rationing to protect the state’s $32 billion agriculture industry.
New York Times:
LOS ANGELES—Its reservoir levels receding and its grounds parched, California has fallen officially into drought, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday, warning that the state might be forced to ration water to cities and regions if conservation efforts did not improve.
A farm near Bakersfield has been put up for sale for commercial development. There is tension between city residents and farmers, who consume most of California’s water.
The drought declaration—the first for the state since 1991—includes orders to transfer water from less dry areas to those that are dangerously dry. Mr. Schwarzenegger also said he would ask the federal government for aid to farmers and press water districts, cities and local water agencies to accelerate conservation. Drought conditions have hampered farming, increased water rates throughout California and created potentially dangerous conditions in areas prone to wildfires.
The declaration comes after the driest California spring in 88 years, with runoff in river basins that feed most reservoirs at 41 percent of average levels. It stops short of a water emergency, which would probably include mandatory rationing.
Flickr / Randy Son Of Robert