Analysis of S. 2198: Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 [April 24, 2014]   [open pdf - 274KB]

From the Summary: "Over the past five years, portions of the country have been gripped with extensive drought, including the state of California. Drought conditions in California are 'exceptional' and 'extreme' in much of the state, including in prime agricultural areas of the Central Valley, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Such conditions pose significant challenges to water managers who before this dry winter were already grappling with below-normal surface water storage in the state's largest reservoirs. Groundwater levels in many areas of the state also have declined due to increased pumping over the last three dry years. While recent rains have improved the water year outlook somewhat--moving the year from the driest on record in terms of precipitation to date to the third-driest--water managers are fearful of the long-term impacts of a relatively dry winter and little existing snowpack to refresh supplies later in the year. Because of the extent of the drought in California, drought impacts are varied and widespread. Most of the San Joaquin Valley is in exceptional drought, and federal and state water supply allotments are at historic lows. Many farmers are fallowing lands and some are removing permanent tree crops. Cities and towns have also been affected, and the governor has requested voluntary water use cutbacks of 20%. The effects of the drought are also likely to be felt on fish and wildlife species and the recreational and commercial activities they support, potentially including North Coast salmon fisheries. The intensity of the drought in California has generated congressional interest."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43469
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