Most of California Suddenly in ‘Extreme’ Drought

Dry Lake Oroville 2021 b (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

Most of the state of California is suddenly in “extreme” drought, as the snowmelt from winter storms has melted without reaching the state’s reservoirs.

Much of it has seeped into dry soils, or simply evaporated, according to the Sacramento Bee:

The miserly output from the Sierra Nevada helps explain why the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly hydrological analysis by the federal government, shows 93% of California in either “severe,” “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. A month ago, only about two-thirds of the state was facing those conditions.

Many farmers in the Sacramento Valley had been counting on getting a 5% allocation this year from the federal government’s Central Valley Project. On Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation put that meager shipment on hold,explaining that the melting snow wasn’t contributing much to the reservoirs.

The announcement was particularly bad news for Sacramento Valley rice farmers, who produce 97% of the state’s rice crop. Although many Valley farmers have special contractual rights that will give them enhanced deliveries from the Central Valley Project, every grower is facing a minimum 25% reduction, said Jim Morris, spokesman for the California Rice Commission.

Only San Diego County, which also obtains a significant proportion of water supply from desalination, is doing relatively well; it is described as “abnormally dry,” rather than in drought.

California has not made much progress in water storage or plans for desalination since the last extreme drought, which ended in 2017.

Governor Gavin Newsom, facing a recall election, has not yet declared the state officially in drought.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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