Glenda Anderson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sales of water storage tanks have spiked on the North Coast as rural residents, already faced with declining wells, springs and reservoirs, brace for what could be another drought year.
“They’re hoarding water,” said Rich Hutchison, a plumbing and electrical buyer for Friedman’s home improvement stores.
Water storage tank sales increased by about 40 percent at Friedman’s stores in December, he said. The Ukiah store alone sold 20 tanks in December, a 50 percent increase from the same time last year, Hutchison said.
via Dry conditions lead some on North Coast to store water | The Press Democrat.
Glenda Anderson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Mendocino County Supervisors Tuesday unanimously declared a drought emergency, the first step in managing the county’s dwindling water supplies as rainfall continues to bypass the North Coast.
“It’s just really scary to see where we are with the water supply,” said Supervisor Carre Brown.
The emergency declaration includes creation of a committee to evaluate the drought’s effects on local water sources and draft a plan to lessen its impacts.
Wells are drying up and Lake Mendocino, a primary source of water in the Ukiah and Hopland valleys, is close to an all-time low following a year of record low rainfall. Just 7.67 inches of rain fell in the upper reaches of the Russian River last year.
via Mendocino County declares drought emergency | The Press Democrat.
Jamie Hansen, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
For years, ranchers listed 1976 and 1977 as the worst drought conditions in memory. Now, with no rainfall in nearly a month and forecasts calling for dry conditions to continue, many are worried that 2014 could be even worse.
“It’s pretty dire out there,” said Tim Tesconi, interim manager of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Some livestock ranchers’ ponds and reservoirs are drying up, especially in the Two Rock and Chileno Valley areas outside Petaluma, forcing them to truck in water at great cost. Ranchers around the county are having to buy hay much earlier than usual because grass is not growing. The added expenses are causing some to start culling the weaker animals from their herds.
“There are farmers who can’t pay their bills,” said Larry Peter, who works with many dairies as owner of Petaluma Creamery and Spring Hill Jersey Cheese.
via Ranchers running out of feed, water options | The Press Democrat.
Sean Scully, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sonoma County Water Agency has cut flows in the Russian River by about 30 percent since Tuesday in an effort to preserve dwindling supplies in Lake Mendocino.
State regulators granted the agency permission to cut flows late Tuesday and the agency promptly dropped from releasing about 100 cubic feet per second at the dam, or about 748 gallons, to 90. On Thursday, the agency dropped that number down to 70 cfs, and could go lower this week or next.
“We don’t like to take it down really quickly,” agency Assistant General Manager Pam Jeane said.
That means flows in the river downstream could fall to below 55 cfs at its lowest point by early next week. During a normal rain year, the agency would need to keep that flow at around 150 cfs at the lowest point; even on a moderately dry year, it can’t cut the flow lower than 75 cfs.
But as of Thursday morning, the reservoir had just 26,280 acre feet of water in reserve, about 8.6 billion gallons, or just 38.7 percent of its capacity.
The region is coming out of a record dry year, with just 7.67 inches of rain falling in the upper reaches of the Russian River, as measured at Ukiah; the area usually sees at least 34 inches of rain.
via Water officials cut Russian River releases from Lake Mendocino | The Press Democrat.
Peter Fimrite, SFGATE
Thirsty California may get a smidgen of rain this coming week, but it is not likely to change what, so far, has been the driest calendar year in recorded history.
No rain at all fell in San Francisco in October and only 3.95 inches has fallen since Jan. 1, the smallest amount of precipitation to date since record keeping began 164 years ago, according to the National Weather Service.
Things can still change, but the storm predicted to roll in Monday and Tuesday has already petered out, according to forecasters, who are expecting only sprinkles, if that.
"It’s absolutely dry," said Bob Benjamin, a National Weather Service forecaster. "We just went through October where there was no measurable precipitation in downtown San Francisco. That’s only happened seven times since records started."
via California on course for driest year on record – SFGate.