California officials developing drought battle plan

Feb. 8, 2014 at 12:54 PM
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SACRAMENTO, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- California officials said they will convene a summit of state, local and federal water agency officials in Sacramento to discuss the statewide drought.

The declaration of a statewide drought emergency last month has sparked a flurry of action among water agencies, including an unprecedented cancellation of deliveries from the State Water Project, Marketwatch said.

A significant order of business at the Feb. 14 summit will be deciding on conservation steps at the local level.

The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News said Saturday data show local consumption rates can vary widely from area to area.

"There are things like differences in yard sizes, but quite frankly ... if you are in a wealthier community, people tend to use more water because it is inexpensive for them," said Chris Brown, former executive director of the non-profit California Urban Water Conservation Council.

Unusual weather patterns virtually sealed California off from its usual January rains, leaving reservoirs and mountain snow pack dangerously low.

A modest series of storms moved across the state this week but rain and snowfall was not significant.

Britain's the Guardian said a stronger system will bring additional precipitation to northern California.

"It is great that we have some rain and snow, it'll moisten the soil," said Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. "In terms of long-term fixes to get our farms through the summer it'll do almost nothing."

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