Oct 5, 2016

Another dry year on California’s books as ‘drought continues’

California
USA
by
Kurtis Alexander
,
SFGate
In this June 6, 2016 photo, Division Chief Jim McDougald of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection holds a piece of tree bark showing burrowing marks from a bark beetle infestation near near Cressman, Calif. Photo: Scott Smith, Associated Press
In this June 6, 2016 photo, Division Chief Jim McDougald of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection holds a piece of tree bark showing burrowing marks from a bark beetle infestation near near Cressman, Calif. Photo: Scott Smith, Associated Press

State water officials last week described the 2016 water year, running from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, as disappointingly “dry” — the fifth year of “meager precipitation” helping fuel the historic drought.

“Without hesitation, the assessment is that the drought continues and we continue to encourage conservation,” said Doug Carlson, a spokesman for the state Department of Water Resources.

While the northern part of the state, where most of California’s water supply comes from, saw above-average precipitation during the water year — about 116 percent — it wasn’t enough to make up for previous deficits, nor help the much drier Southland.

Northern California remains about 15 percent below average for precipitation over the past five years, according to state data. Southern California is more than 50 percent below average.

Making matters worse, warmer-than-normal temperatures this past year meant more rain than snow, which doesn’t bode well for water supplies. Snow in the Sierra serves as a natural reservoir that, if sufficiently built up, stretches through the summer when man-made reservoirs run dry