No El Niño in 2014? Drought-weary California in trouble

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click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map of California, released on July 31, 2014. As of July 29, nearly 60 percent of California is considered in exceptional drought, the highest level of drought reported by the Drought Monitor report. This is significantly higher than the 37 percent reported last week.

The drought has made a tremendous impact on California’s water reservoirs, where storage stands at 60 percent of the historical average. The state is now short more than one year’s worth of reservoir water, or 11.6 million acre-feet, for this time of year.

Both rural and urban Californians are desperate for a wetter weather pattern; however, relief doesn't appear to be coming anytime soon. Earlier this week, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology announced Pacific Ocean temperatures have eased and an El Niño event, originally forecast for later this year, could be pushed back to the spring – if it comes at all.

"While the chance of an El Niño in 2014 has clearly eased, warmer-than-average waters persist in parts of the tropical Pacific, and the slight majority of climate models suggest El Niño remains likely for spring," the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in an emailed statement in this Reuters article.

American federal forecasters are slated to release their updated El Niño forecast in early August.

click image to zoomDrought Farmer El Niño was originally hailed as California’s saving grace from the grips of the drought, but a recent report on the staggering cost of California’s drought warned that even if El Niño did arrive, it would likely fail to bring enough moisture to quench the drought.

“Statistically, the drought is likely to continue through 2015 – regardless of El Niño conditions,” the report said.  “A continued drought also increases the vulnerability of agriculture, as urban users with largely adequate supplies in 2014 will likely buy water from agricultural areas.”

So far, the drought has cost the state’s agricultural industry more than $2 billion and will put some 17,000 agricultural workers out of a job by the end of the year. Read, “Drought costs California's ag industry $2.2 billion.”

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OH  |  August, 01, 2014 at 09:20 AM

The waters off of CA are so warm that fish that are normally down by Mexico are now at CA. That hasn't happened since the strong El Niño of 1997. Also NZ (north island where majority of cows are at) has been dryer than normal and colder than normal the last 15 days. This also happens during El Niño. The water around north island is colder than normal.

Maxine Lynch    
Oroville, CA  |  August, 01, 2014 at 12:47 PM

And thousands of pot growers are sucking water out of the ground and filling many 5,000 gallon tanks every day. No restrictions, no fees, no licenses, nothing!!

Nevada  |  August, 01, 2014 at 01:15 PM

Hurray for the pot growers.

August, 02, 2014 at 04:01 PM

So were gonna have a 1997-like El Niño this year?

Seattle, WA  |  August, 02, 2014 at 08:44 PM

Doubtful! The climate is changing and this hemisphere is warming up! History is only repeating itself amplified by human behaviors. Not to be an alarmist but, soon when we turn on our faucets, the only thing pouring out will be dust.....

August, 03, 2014 at 09:20 AM

Great time to learn about harvesting rainwater and using your grey water.Also quite pooping in your drinking water and compost the humanure. check out permaculture!!

Montana  |  August, 03, 2014 at 09:24 AM

Collect rainwater, quite pooping in treated drinking water(compost your humanure),use your grey water to fertigate. Check out Permaculture! Plant trees,cover the soil,etc,etc.

sonoma county  |  August, 04, 2014 at 01:16 AM

The pot growers do what they do because the illegal status of pot acts exactly as an outrageously high price support (subsidy). It is often the case that local law enforcement and government looks the other way, because pot growers "contribute" to local economies - and it is often that pot has become a popular cash crop because the topography and soil/growing conditions do not allow for large scale farming - and small landholders are seduced by the income potential. Having pot illegal supports three very large industries - drug enforcement, punishment (jails, public and private) as well as the whole underground and semi-underground world of pot growing and selling. What would all the drug enforcement officers, prison guards and pot growers / sellers do if pot was legal? Might they have to do real work, like farming? Wouldnt it be better if those people did not live of our tax dollars? Wouldnt it be better if pot was seen more clearly - just another mind numbing drug (like alcohol) that is used to cover up the pointless lives that so many Americans live because they cannot support themselves through farming?

los angeles  |  August, 04, 2014 at 06:58 AM

here this is a video I shot a couple a days ago..Should make you sic...60 million gallons a day washing out to sea, and nobody cares.


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