Drought Headlines Archive
Drought Headlines Archive
California marks 2013 as historically dry year
Oroville Mercury Register (California), Dec 31, 2013
Dozens of California cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, neared records for low precipitation in 2013. Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir in the state, held 37 percent of capacity and Folsom Lake contained less than 20 percent of capacity.
No break in drought this winter
Drovers Cattle Network (Lenexa, Kansas), Dec 19, 2013
Drought retained its grip on the western U.S., with drought predicted to hang on in coming months.
Drought forces California farmers to idle cropland
Ag Professional (Northbrook, Ill.), Feb 05, 2014
California farmers may leave as much as 500,000 acres fallow this year, due to irrigation water shortages. The result may be a record production loss, amounting to about $5 billion in the direct cost of lost production and indirect effects through the region’s economy, said Mike Wade, executive director of another industry group, the California Farm Water Coalition.
Such an economic toll could jeopardize about 40 percent of all agricultural jobs in the Central Valley, equaling about 117,000 people employed in farm production, processing and transportation.
Marin vineyard owners concerned about drought, preparing for fewer wine grapes
InsuranceNewsNet.com (Camp Hill, Penn.), Feb 03, 2014
Marin County, California
Some grape growers were purchasing crop insurance for the first time this year as drought looks to devastate the grape crop unless more precipitation falls.
Dryland grape growers are the envy of growers who irrigate their grapes to get a larger crop.
Smallest U.S. Cattle Herd Since 1951
Northern Ag Network (Billings, Mont.), Feb 03, 2014
The nation’s cattle supply continued to shrink by 2.2 percent in 2013 to 87.7 million head, the smallest since 1951, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Drought starving farms in California
The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon), Jan 30, 2014
Farmers across California were planting fewer crops and selling livestock in anticipation of continued drought and poor water allocations. Lost revenue in 2014 from farming and agriculture-related businesses, like processing and trucking, could come to $5 billion, according to estimates by the 300-member California Farm Water Coalition, a Sacramento-based group of farmers, water district managers and farm-related businesses. Farmers may leave up to 500,000 acres unplanted, which is 12 percent of the principal crops grown in 2013, because they will not have sufficient water to bring the crop to harvest, according to Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition.
Business & Industry
Abundant 2013 corn harvest boosts ethanol production
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Dec 13, 2013
After drought cut into ethanol production in 2012 and 2013, production finally gained steam in mid-October 2013 with lower priced corn and rich supplies.
Port Authority records banner year
StarNewsOnline.com (Wilmington, North Carolina), Dec 12, 2013
Wilmington, North Carolina
Big demand for grain from South America led to record feed grain imports through the port of Wilmington during the 2012-13 fiscal year and a profit of $5.1 million. The previous year’s profit was $394,000.
Canton Businesses on the Brink Months After Oklahoma City Water Withdrawal
StateImpact Oklahoma (Norman, Okla.), Nov 07, 2013
Oklahoma City drew water from Canton Lake in January 2013, depleting the lake and causing hardships for Canton. Fewer visitors came to the lake for recreation because the lake was very low, leading to reduced revenue for many businesses. The local grocery store saw a 50 percent reduction in business, while a café near the dam closed for lack of customers.
Remaining business owners wonder how long it might take Canton to recover from the water release that drained Canton Lake and hope that they can hang on until then.
ADM's 3rd-Quarter Profit Rises on Accounting Credit -- Update
NASDAQ.com (New York, N.Y.), Oct 29, 2013
Limited supplies of soybeans and corn after the Midwestern drought in 2012 cut into Archer Daniels Midland’s revenue and core earnings in the third quarter. Oilseed processing was down 3.6 percent and corn volume slipped 7.8 percent.
The company’s agricultural-services profit dropped $152 million compared to the third quarter of 2012, due to fewer exports.
California may rely on more gas-fired generation due to drought
Reuters, Jan 10, 2014
With less water stored in California reservoirs, less hydropower will likely be produced in the state in 2014, leading to greater reliance on natural gas-fired power production.
In 2011, hydropower accounted for an above average 21.3 percent and natural gas was used for 45.4 percent of in-state electricity production. In 2012, dry conditions in California shifted the balance to 13.8 percent hydropower and 61.1 percent gas-fired generation. Hydropower is cheaper than gas-fired power.
Colorado River Hydropower Faces a Dry Future
IEEE Spectrum (New York, New York), Sep 19, 2013
Drought has lessened the flow through the Colorado River Basin, limiting hydropower generation at dams in the Southwest. At Hoover Dam, five new wide-head turbines are being installed to keep the power plant functioning as water levels decline in Lake Mead. Full capacity power production at Hoover Dam is 2,074 megawatts, but low water levels diminished production to 1,735 MW in August for a decline of just over 8 percent. Power production at Glen Canyon Dam in 2014 is expected to be down by 8 percent.
With the Colorado River providing less water, resulting in reduced hydropower production, the Western Area Power Administration will shell out an estimated $10 million to purchase power supplies in 2014.
Gavins Point Dam releases again set lower
Omaha.com (Nebraska), Sep 08, 2013
Upper Missouri River
Water releases from Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River will be at a minimum, due to ongoing drought in the northern Great Plains. From December through February, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release an average of nearly 12,000 cubic feet per second. Winter releases are usually about 17,000 cfs or higher.
Hydropower production at the six mainstem power plants on the upper Missouri River has been low in 2013. Normal power production is 10 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, but is projected to be just 7.6 billion kilowatt hours this year.
Low water season draws concerns for summer energy
KTVB.COM (Boise, Idaho), Jun 18, 2013
Officials with Idaho Power are reducing flows in the Snake River to 65,000 cubic feet per second below Hells Canyon Dam to have sufficient water on hand to generate power during the summer when the power demand is highest. Flows on the Snake River are nearing historic lows, forcing some in the Treasure Valley near Boise, Idaho to go without irrigation water, while others may be denied water in the near future.
Corps: Drought Still Issue
Yankton Press & Dakotan (South Dakota), Jun 11, 2013
Upper Missouri River Basin
The six mainstem power plants on the upper Missouri River produced 608 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in May, down from typical May production of 687 kWh as lingering drought reduced runoff, despite abundant rainfall up to three times the historical averages in some parts of the Missouri River basin. Through the rest of 2013, the power plants are expected to produce 7.6 billion kWh of electricity, which is substantially lower than the average annual production of 10 billion kWh.
Fire managers ready for rain
StatesmanJournal.com (Salem, Ore.), Feb 04, 2014
Wildfire activity in Oregon was exceptionally high as 18 fires burned roughly 916 acres through Jan. 28, compared to the 10-year average for the same time period of one fire charring 17 acres, according to the public information officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry.
“It’s been a highly unusual January,” said Russ Lane, an assistant forester for ODF North Cascade District. “Really it’s just drought conditions — lack of rainfall and snowpack. … Our forest fuels (dry debris and dead logs) are just as dry as it would be in August.”
Bay Area in 'extreme drought' - might as well enjoy the sun
SFGate.com (San Francisco, Calif.), Jan 17, 2014
More than 150 wildfires have burned in California, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The average number of wildfires for mid-January is about two dozen.
"It all has to do with the fact that things are critically dry," said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant. "It's definitely disconcerting for us to be three weeks into January and seeing conditions that we'd typically see in early summer."
Dry weather leads to fire restrictions on region’s BLM-managed lands
The Sacramento Bee (California), Jan 09, 2014
The Bureau of Land Management announced fire restrictions on public lands that it manages in El Dorado, Amador, Sacramento, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. Unseasonably dry vegetation and high fire danger were the reasons given for the fire restrictions.
Dry weather prompts Cal Fire to increase staff
Santa Cruz Sentinel (California), Dec 28, 2013
Santa Cruz County, California
The increase in the number of wildfires in Santa Cruz County in November and December rose from an average of four or five to 31 fires. The uptick in wildfire activity led Cal Fire on Dec. 28 to begin keeping extra crews and all-terrain engines on hand. Two fire crews are staffed in Ben Lomond, whereas there are usually none during the wet season.
Plants & Wildlife
Drought conditions prompt earliest trout stocking in 20 years for Northern Nevada
Reno Gazette-Journal (Nev.), Feb 12, 2014
The Nevada Department of Wildlife began stocking rivers, streams and lakes in western Nevada earlier than it has in the last 20 years before water bodies become further depleted. A supervising fisheries biologist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife said that they needed to release the fish quickly or the NDW would be left with nowhere to put the 428,000 fish that are typically released between late March and October.
Warm-water sport fish like catfish, bass and walleye are not expected to survive at Rye Patch and Lahontan reservoirs where water levels are low.
Low and slow
Medford Mail Tribune (Oregon), Jan 24, 2014
Steelhead have not moved out of the Rogue River into the Applegate River, due to low flows as area rainfall fell to a historic low. Applegate Lake was at its lowest point since the lake was created in 1980, at more than 29 feet below the average late-January level, leaving no extra water to release.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reduced the flow from Applegate Dam to 80 cubic feet per second, which is 20 cfs less than the project’s minimum flows for wild salmon and steelhead protection. The corps hopes to retain as much water as possible behind the dam to use in the summer, keeping river flows high and cool enough to protect wild fall chinook salmon and winter steelhead that hatch and rear in the Applegate.
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Releases 750,000 Salmon Into Death Zone
GoldenGate Salmon Association (Petaluma, Calif.), Jan 20, 2014
Sacramento River in California
The Coleman national fish hatchery plans to release 73,000 baby salmon into the Sacramento River, although the fish probably will not survive, due to adverse river conditions. Nearly 750,000 salmon have been released into the low river over the last five weeks, despite salmon advocates’ strong opposition to the releases.
Sprinklers help nourish refuge elk at Jackson
Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming), Dec 15, 2013
Forage production at the National Elk Refuge was down nearly 25 percent during 2013, compared to the 15-year average, due to below normal precipitation.
A five square mile area of the refuge was irrigated to provide abundant forage for the elk and produced an extra 2.4 million pounds or about 1,200 tons of grass and other vegetation.
Relief, Response, & Restrictions
Obama Announces Aid for Drought-Stricken California
The New York Times, Feb 14, 2014
President Obama announced financial assistance to help California get through the drought gripping the state. He offered $100 million in livestock-disaster assistance for California ranchers, $60 million for food banks to help families hurt financially by the drought, $5 million for conservation assistance in the hardest-hit drought areas, $5 million for watershed protection and $3 million in emergency grants for rural communities with water shortages.
Feds announce another $14M for California drought
Associated Press, Feb 05, 2014
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Natural Resources Conservation Service announced $14 million for water management improvements in California, in addition to $20 million in aid announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Brown tells Californians to conserve amid drought
Associated Press, Jan 30, 2014
Before Gov. Jerry Brown met with local water district officials in Los Angeles, he urged Californians to take shorter showers, turn of the water while cleaning teeth and flush the toilet as little as possible to conserve water. While water conservation remained voluntary, Brown said that "every day this drought goes on, we're going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing."
Drought Prompts Disaster Declarations in 11 States
The Wall Street Journal (New York), Jan 16, 2014
Counties in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California were declared to be primary natural disaster areas, due to drought.
Society & Public Health
California farmers brace for drought, unemployment
Yahoo! News, Feb 02, 2014
Central Valley of California
California officials are bracing for a wave of high unemployment in the rural towns of the Central Valley as drought brings job losses. Rick Palermo of Community Food Bank in Fresno was scoping out locations for handing out food in Mendota, Firebaugh and other small communities. During the dry spell in 2009, unemployment rates were very high in the Central Valley.
Gold rush? California’s drought attracts gold prospectors to low rivers
Los Angeles Daily News, Jan 27, 2014
Gold prospectors were taking advantage of low river levels in Placer County to look for gold along river banks that have not been dry in nearly 100 years. A man panning for gold along the Bear River in Colfax found a chip of gold about one-fourth the size of a pea.
Drought Provides Window to Old West
The Wall Street Journal (New York), Jan 26, 2014
Low water levels in lakes across the Western U.S. are revealing hidden historical artifacts not seen in many years. Lake Folsom in California, Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Lake Powell on the Utah/Arizona border and Lake Buchanan near Austin are some of the lakes sharing their secrets.
Dust In The Wind – A "Silent Epidemic" Rises In The Southwest
JDSupra (Sausalito, Calif.), Jan 21, 2014
Drought in California has coincided with a dramatic increase in the number of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever or cocci) cases in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that becomes airborne when soil is disturbed by strong winds or other events. Most of the time, infection goes unnoticed, but in rare cases, it can be fatal.
Tourism & Recreation
Drought drives down ski business, discourages snow lovers
Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb 12, 2014
The lack of snow is hampering business at ski resorts in northern New Mexico. Pajarito Mountain Ski Area suspended operations, snow mobile tours around Red River have to travel an hour to get to the snow, but Ski Santa Fe is 95 percent open.
Drought hits ski towns hard
CNN Money, Feb 07, 2014
Northern California, Oregon and Idaho
Numerous small ski resorts in northern California, Oregon and Idaho have not received enough snow to be able to open, resulting in revenue losses not only for the ski resorts, but also for local hotels, restaurants and bars.
Local rivers closed to fishing by state
The Salinas Californian, Jan 29, 2014
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife closed some rivers and streams to fishing in Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties to protect salmon and steelhead populations while river flows are low. The CDFW is also considering additional river closures, including sections of the American River and Russian River.
Ski Resorts Seen as Buyout Targets Amid U.S. West Drought
Bloomberg, Jan 27, 2014
Many ski resorts have gotten just a small fraction of the snow they usually receive by this point in the season, cutting deeply into revenue, which may lead to larger ski resorts buying up smaller ones.
Snowfall has not been so low at the 25 ski resorts in California since the 1971-72 season, according to the California Ski Industry Association. Resorts have to find ways to cut costs until conditions improve.
Mt. Hood barely covered with Christmas snow
kgw.com (Portland, Oregon), Dec 23, 2013
Mt. Hood Skibowl had less than one foot of snow on the slopes, and the spokesman said that they have generated up to 30 inches of snow. The main lift chairs for skiers and boarders were not open on Christmas Day, due to the lack of snow.
Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline just had enough snow on Dec. 23 to run the lifts.
Water Supply & Quality
Thirsty growers bid sky-high for available water
BakersfieldCalifornian.com, Feb 05, 2014
Kern County, California
The Buena Vista Water Storage District in Kern County received extremely high bids from local growers for 12,000 acre-feet of stored water put up for auction. The district received 50 bids, with the highest at $1,350 per acre-foot for 300 acre-feet. Nearly 20 of the bids offered $1,000 or more for each acre-foot, a testament to the growers’ desperation. The bids altogether showed a need for more than 63,000 acre-feet of water.
Impacts of Historic Drought Linger in Texas
AgWeb (Mexico, Mo.), Feb 13, 2014
Persistent drought in Texas has reduced the state’s reservoirs to puddles since water supplies never recovered from intense drought in 2011. State officials are prioritizing use of the remaining water, seeking new water sources and hastily constructing needed infrastructure before the next drought arrives.
With less than 100 days' water in storage, rural California town grow anxious about future
U.S. News & World Report, Feb 06, 2014
Willits in Mendocino County was one of the 17 communities identified as having 60 to 120 days’ worth of water left in their reservoir. Consequently, water restrictions are severe—outdoor watering and car washing are not permitted, residents were ordered to slash water use and restaurants must only serve water if a customer requests it.
Rio Grande water outlook dim as February gets underway
Silver City Sun-News (New Mexico), Feb 03, 2014
Southern New Mexico
Meager snowfall in the southern Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado does not bode well for the Rio Grande River and irrigators in southern New Mexico who look to the Rio Grande for water. The Elephant Butte Irrigation District near Las Cruces had its worst irrigation season in nearly a century in 2013 with record low allocations and a very brief period of water deliveries.
Rare ‘curtailment’ notice underlines depth of drought
Ag Alert (Sacramento, Calif.), Jan 29, 2014
The State Water Resources Control Board sent out notices warning of surface water shortages and the potential for the curtailment of water right diversions, including diversions for some holders of riparian and pre-1914 water rights.
The last time notices of potential curtailment of water diversions were sent out was during 1977.
Dry times in the Amazon add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere
environmentalresearchweb (Bristol, United Kingdom), Feb 06, 2014
Research from the University of Leeds found that drought can cause the Amazon Basin to release more carbon dioxide through vegetation than it stores in photosynthesis. In wet years, the basin is carbon neutral.
Fears as dams dry up in second Qld town
Geelong Advertiser (Australia), Feb 06, 2014
A second town in northwest Queensland is about to run out of water. The mayor of Cloncurry is planning for the possible evacuation of the town when the water supply is gone.
Australian Cotton Output Seen Dropping as Drought Hurts Crop
The Washington Post with Bloomberg, Feb 06, 2014
Drought and limited water availability led experts to forecast Australia’s cotton output in to be less than 4 million bales. The country’s cotton production was 4.4 million bales in 2012-13 and a record 5.3 million bales in 2011-12.
Can planners stop drought harming the tourist dollar?
environmentalresearchweb (Bristol, U.K.), Nov 18, 2013
Tourism and recreation industry representatives should be involved in drought preparedness activities for the benefit of the state and the tourist/recreation industry.
Drought Headlines Archive
Cloud seeding, no longer magical thinking, is poised for use this winter
The Sacramento Bee (California), Nov 11, 2013
Cloud seeding will continue to be used in California during the 2013-14 winter to boost snowfall and increase water supplies in a state that has endured two years of drought. Cloud-seeding efforts in California began more than 60 years ago and involve the spraying of silver iodide into clouds.
USDA study shows benefits of weaning calves early
Drovers Cattle Network (Lenexa, Kansas), Aug 29, 2013
Weaning calves early during drought allows cows to gain more weight and achieve better body condition than cows with nursing calves. Consequently, less harvested feedstuffs were needed for cows to maintain adequate body weights and condition during the winter.
USDA Recommends New Practice to Combat Drought
WIUM-FM Tri States Public Radio (Macomb, Illinois), Aug 27, 2013
The USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service says that drain water management techniques can help farmers cope with drought as they regulate how much water is allowed to drain from a field. A device can be attached to the ends of tile lines to act as a valve to keep needed moisture from draining away.
FOCUS ON AGRICULTURE: Cover crops boost yield in dry years
The Quincy Herald-Whig (Ill.), Aug 21, 2013
The use of cover crops boosted agricultural output in drought-stricken areas in 2012. In the fall of 2012 from a survey of more than 750 farmers in the Midwest, corn crops planted after cover crops yielded 9.6 percent more corn in comparison with side-by-side fields without cover crops. Soybean yields were 11.6 percent higher following cover crops.
In the driest parts of the Corn Belt, the differences were even more striking, with an 11 percent increase in yield for corn and a 14.3 percent yield increase for soybeans.