Published 11:33 am, Friday, February 21, 2014
(02-21) 11:31 PST SAN FRANCISCO — Federal officials announced Friday that many California farmers will receive no water this year from the federally-run system of reservoirs and canals fed by the drought-stricken Sierra Nevada, a crippling blow for the state’s agricultural industry.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the state’s unusually dry weather has meant too little snow and rain for the Central Valley Water Project, forcing officials to plan for unprecedented restrictions on irrigation water.
If weather conditions change, the plans may change. But with Sierra snowpack at just 29 percent of average for this time of year, federal officials expect the runoff that nourishes their water supplies to remain scant.
“This low allocation is yet another indicator of the impacts the severe drought is having on California communities, agriculture, businesses, power, and the environment,” said the reclamation bureau’s commissioner, Michael Connor, in a prepared statement.
The restrictions strike an agricultural industry in California that is the nation’s most valuable, but is still reeling from last year’s low water allocations. Growers across the state are already fallowing land and discontinuing harvests because of too little water to maintain crops.
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