Saturday, November 22, 2008

Californians told to prepare for dry 2009

The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, California): California has been through two consecutive years of drought. Could 2009 bring a third? "It's not likely, but it shouldn't be discounted either," said Klaus Wolter, a University of Colorado climatologist and guest speaker at a conference Friday in San Diego sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources.

In the next several months, Southern California is forecast to be drier than normal, while Northern California is forecast to have close-to-normal levels of precipitation, he said. The state has encountered three consecutive years of drought on only two previous occasions: 1959 to 1961 and 1990 to 1992.

Regardless of what the projections say, Californians should still plan for the worst because of depleting surface run-off and groundwater basins, said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager for the Water Resources Department. "We should plan for a dry 2009," she said.

Storage in the state's reservoirs is at a 14-year low. The water system has been further stressed by a court order restricting water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to other parts of the state, including Southern California….

Lake Powell, Arizona, on the Colorado River -- the source of much of California's water. Shot by Justin Brockie, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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