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Rein in water use - California is in for a very dry summer!

California communities face a strong possibility of water shortages and even mandatory rationing this summer because of record dry weather in March and April, a fast-shrinking snowpack and below-normal reservoir levels, state officials in early May (2008).

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California communities face a strong possibility of water shortages and even mandatory rationing this summer because of record dry weather in March and April, a fast-shrinking snowpack and below-normal reservoir levels, state officials in early May (2008).

The Sierra Nevada snowpack has shrunk to 67% of normal, down sharply from 97% in late March, according to results of the snow survey, released Thursday by the state Department of Water Resources. Those concerns have been exacerbated by a long drought in the Colorado River Basin and a federal court ruling curbing water deliveries from Northern California.

The bleak news, contained in California's final Sierra snowpack report of the snow season, means a second consecutive year of water anxieties in a state heavily dependent on water from the melting snow in the Sierra Nevada.

Water Supply Index-- May 1, 2008 Forecasts

Sacramento River Runoff forecast
“DRY” median water year type index

San Joaquin Valley forecast
“DRY” water year type index

Sacramento River Runoff forecast
“DRY” median water year type index

San Joaquin Valley forecast
“DRY” water year type index

More Water Reports

Assn. of California Water Agencies

Prepare for:
Higher flood flow
Smaller snowpack
Longer dry spells, droughts

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement urging the Legislature to pass comprehensive water reforms, warning that many communities face shortages and possible rationing.

Los Angeles traditionally has gotten 30% to 60% of its water from the Eastern Sierra via the Los Angeles Aqueduct, but it still buys water imported from the north and east.

"I think we're all facing a worrisome water picture," said H. David Nahai, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

State meteorologist Elissa Lin fell short of officially declaring a drought. "It's been a very tough two years for water supply in California," Lin said. "All of these things are pointing in that direction. . . . Certainly, if we go into a third year, we're looking at some critical situations."

Further tightening water supplies, state deliveries to Southern California were slashed in December after a federal court decision last summer aimed at protecting endangered smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger, who ordered those restrictions, is scheduled to hold hearings in June to decide whether to impose further cutbacks to protect chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead trout.

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| water | water conservation | drought | California | water supply | water shortage | water management |

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