Posts Tagged: drought

News

Drought takes aim at farms

A drought-stricken farm in Central California. (Photo: Johnny Habell)

As California suffers through its third-driest year on record, the effects of the drought are hitting home in some of the nation’s richest farmland. The state’s $37.5 billion-a-year agricultural yield represents about 12 percent of the nation’s total. Agriculture uses about about 80 percent of the state’s water.

Opinion

Drought takes toll on birds, Pacific Flyway

Birds take flight in the Pacific Flyway near Sacramento. (Photo: Department of Fish and Game)

OPINION: Summer is a relatively quiet time for birds in California’s Central Valley, as most of the ducks and geese are breeding in the north. But this year is more quiet than usual. According to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Fish Wildlife, the number of breeding ducks remaining in California this season is 23 percent below the long-term average. The decline speaks to the significant degradation of habitat in the Central Valley due to lack of precipitation.

News

Drought: New battle, old weapons

The dry bed of Ivanpah Lake in San Barnardino County, which had been filled by the 2004-05 rains. (Photo: Ed Berlen)

With four fifths of California suffering through extreme drought, the state is poised to impose conservation measures last seen nearly 40 years ago during an earlier, unprecedented parched period. There will be restrictions on lawn watering, car and pavement washing, runoff, fountains and the like, with violations of up to $500 a day.

News

Indigenous farm workers have scant access to mental health services

Irene Gomez, manager of a domestic violence and mental health outreach program for indigenous farmworkers in Oxnard, helps a client. (Photo: Scott Erickson.)

Although many counties have programs that provide at least some medical care to this population, access to mental health services is extremely limited in most parts of the state. This is despite the fact that indigenous farmworkers are believed to face higher amounts of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder than the general population.

Opinion

Drought: Tearing up lawns is short-sighted

A view of the California drought from Marine One during President Obama's visit earlier this year. (Photo: White House)

OPINION: There is an Armenian proverb: “On a rainy day many offer to water the chickens.” And in a very dry year there are many who want to follow the call to tear out their lawns. The call is coming from the Department of Water Resources and others for urban homeowners to start tearing out their lawns, with financial incentives for doing so.

News

Lawn water: A fix for the drought?

Northern California's Lake Oroville, the state's largest reservoir, formed by the Feather River and Oroville Dam. (Photo: Quinn Comendant.)

It’s enough water to fill Lake Oroville and more, and it’s flowing out on to lawns and landscapes in cities and communities across the state each year, according to the Department of Water Resources (DWR). But with the state deep in drought and water supplies dwindling, there’s a movement underfoot that’s hoping to change that.

News

Diving into groundwater — what’s left of it

An old wind-driven pump that tapped groundwater on a California ranch. Photo: Steven Frame)

As the warm temperatures melt California’s meager snowpack, turning rivers into streams and streams into mere trickles, communities and farmers across the state will be increasingly turning to groundwater to meet customer demand and to keep crops and livestock alive. But there’s a problem: Many will be drawing from aquifers already depleted and long under stress as groundwater levels in many basins across the state are reportedly at historic lows.

News

Field Poll: Californians split on drought measures

Millerton Lake in Fresno County formed by the Friant Dam. Photo: K.J. Kolb

Nearly all California voters (88%) believe the state is undergoing a serious water shortage. However, there is no clear consensus about whether the situation is due more to a lack of water storage and supply facilities in the state, or users not using existing supplies efficiently enough. Statewide, 27% cite the former, 37% the latter and another 24% say both are equally responsible.

News

Farms feel drought’s wrath

A view of the California drought from Marine One during President Obama's visit earlier this year. (Photo: White House)

California’s severe drought is having a profound effect on farming and an unprecedented amount of acreage likely will be left fallow, the Brown administration’s top agriculture official says. Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross told an Assembly budget subcommittee that “no doubt there will be a tremendous impact on agriculture this year.”

News

A rising tide of concerns about water

Millerton Lake in Fresno County formed by the Friant Dam. Photo: K.J. Kolb

A record-high share of Californians say the supply of water is a big problem in their part of the state, and nearly all residents say they have reduced their water use in response to the drought. These are among the key findings in a statewide survey released March 27 by the Public Policy Institute of California. Almost all Californians (92%) say they and their families have done a lot (57%) or a little (35%) to reduce water use in response to the drought.

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