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California Water Officials Say Drought Proclamation Likely

Jan 7, 2014

DWR Director Mark Cowin and DWR’s Drought Preparedness Manager Bill Croyle highlight the importance of water transfers and drought preparedness during the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Board Meeting in Sacramento on January 7.
Credit Paul Hames / Department of Water Resources

The Director of the California Department of Water Resources says he believes Governor Jerry Brown will likely declare a drought. Mark Cowin  made the comments to the state Board of Food and Agriculture today.

Water managers painted a bleak picture for the board of the dry conditions and low reservoir levels around the state. Cowin says all signs point to a drought.

“My belief is that we will have a drought proclamation. The signs are pretty clear at this point. The remaining question is, ‘what do we need to put in that drought proclamation that will actually beyond the messaging help us deal with the impending crisis.’”

Cowin says a proclamation would likely come on February first, which is the date of the next snow survey. A drought proclamation would make it easier to relax water quality standards and streamline water transfers.

Water districts in the San Joaquin Valley say they expect hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland to remain fallow this year.