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Droughts

BUSINESS
February 4, 2014 | By David Pierson
CLOVIS, CALIF. - Beneath unyielding blue skies on a recent afternoon, Ryan Indart knelt down to examine what was left of one of his sheep pastures. Land that should have been lush with native grasses this time of year has been reduced to powdery dirt, splotched with a few withered strands of filaree and foxtail. And where there's no vegetation, there are no sheep. A fourth-generation rancher, Indart has already sent 10% of his 4,000 ewes - which he normally would want to keep - to the slaughterhouse because he can't afford the hay to feed them.
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BUSINESS
February 4, 2014 | By David Pierson
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $20 million available to California farmers to boost water conservation efforts amid one of the worst droughts in state history. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the program was the first of more to come to assist California's growers and ranchers, some of whom are faced with fallowing land and liquidating herds because of the lack of water. “We are doing everything within our power to support those farmers and ranchers affected by this intense drought,”  Vilsack said in a media briefing Tuesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 3, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- When it comes to California's drought, Gov. Jerry Brown has a message for Republicans in Washington, D.C. -- thanks but no thanks. The governor, in a letter sent Monday , said a proposal from House Republicans to alleviate the situation is “an unwelcome and divisive intrusion into California's efforts to manage this severe crisis.” “It would override state laws and protections, and mandate that certain water interests come...
OPINION
February 3, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
As California's drought continues, and more than a dozen rural communities ponder what to do when their drinking water runs out sometime in March, it would be nice if the state's Republican politicians brought some straightforward plans for relief to the table. But what many of them are bringing instead is a tired political tactic barely, and laughably, disguised as a remedy for the lack of rainfall. The "man-made California drought" is the term House Republicans use to describe the state's current dry condition, as if it were somehow the hand of humankind, environmentalists or, even worse, Democrats that has stopped the snowfall over the Sierra and kept the dams that store water for fields, orchards and homes from being replenished.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2014 | By Bettina Boxall
Officials Friday said that for the first time ever, the State Water Project that helps supply a majority of Californians may be unable to make any deliveries except to maintain public health and safety.  They also said they were cutting releases from large reservoirs in the northern part of the state to preserve supplies in the face of what could be the worst drought in modern California history. “It's about holding back water so we've got it tomorrow,” said Chuck Bonham, director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2014 | By Bettina Boxall
Officials Friday said that for the first time ever, the State Water Project that helps supply a majority of Californians may be unable to make any deliveries except to maintain public health and safety. The prospect of no deliveries from one of the state's key water systems underscores the depth of a drought that threatens to be the worst in California's modern history. But the practical effect is less stark because most water districts have other sources, such as local storage and groundwater, to turn to. Officials stressed that the cut did not mean faucets would run dry. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the state project's largest customer, has said it has enough supplies in reserve to get the Southland through this year without mandatory rationing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 | By Bettina Boxall
Even with the first significant storm in nearly two months dropping snow on the Sierra Nevada, Thursday's mountain snowpack measurements were the lowest for the date in more than a half-century of record keeping. At 12% of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren. As snow survey crews worked, Gov. Jerry Brown met with Southern California water leaders as part of a series of drought meetings he is holding around the state.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2014 | By Anthony York
SACRAMENTO -- President Obama called Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday to check in on the state's water crisis and told him the federal government will do what it can to help. Brown declared a drought in the state last week, and the president “reinforced his commitment to providing the necessary federal support to the state and local efforts,” according to a statement from the White House. “The agencies are working together to target resources to help California and other impacted states prepare for and lessen the impacts of the drought.” The drought will be on Brown's agenda Thursday as he meets with “more than a dozen water leaders from across southern California” at Metropolitan Water District headquarters, according to a statement from his office.
OPINION
January 29, 2014
Re "GOP seeks to tap water crisis," Jan. 27 Good of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to drop by to help California fix our drought. Regarding reduced water deliveries to farmers to protect an endangered fish species, he claims that people from his part of the world wouldn't understand "how you can favor fish over people. " Neither would we. Perhaps he can help his people understand that it is never that simple. Perhaps he can explain that as a consequence of the changing global climate, the Southwestern part of our country is becoming ever drier, making it more difficult for all species, including people and fish.
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