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Drought Emergency Declared in Calif.


Aired 4/20/09

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency today after three years of below-average rain and snowfall. Recent rain and snow haven't made much of a dent in the state's parched reservoirs. KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Schwarzenegger's order directs state agencies to provide assistance for affected communities and businesses.
The drought has forced farmers to fallow their fields, put thousands of agricultural workers out of work and led to conservation measures in cities throughout the state including San Diego.

California Department of Water Resources Director Lester Snow says three dry winters have left California reservoirs at their lowest levels since 1992.

Snow: This third dry year follows the driest spring on record last year and the eighth driest January on record in terms of this year. We have a major snow survey on Monday that we'll use to update the information and reevaluate where we are, but we still are very, very far behind.

If the water picture doesn't improve by March 30, the Governor may consider additional steps including mandatory statewide water rationing and mandatory reductions in water use.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.


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