California’s lack of rainfall is major threat to winemakers in 2014
2013 marked one of the driest year’s on record in California, with cities like San Francisco reporting the driest year since 1849, when annual rainfall totals first started being recorded. Los Angeles similarly, reported only receiving 3.6 inches of rain in total for 2013, well below the average of 14 inches. This could be catastrophic for agriculture and wine producers should conditions not change in the near future.
A drought has not officially been declared in the Golden State despite the US Drought Monitor reporting 94.25% of the state is enduring some level of drought conditions. However, The California Department of Water Resources yesterday announced it was drafting an emergency drought declaration for Governor Jerry Brown to sign within a couple of weeks.
This comes on the heels of the latest US snow survey, which was conducted on January 3, which helps evaluate the amount of water likely to be available for key agricultural areas once the snow melts. It is a key factor in water resource planning. The Sierra Nevada Mountain range was surveyed last week, as it is the snow pack that helps supply the Napa Valley watershed, among other regions.
This year’s lack of water follows two dry years, which have left many reservoirs in California depleted. If conditions don’t improve mandatory water restrictions will most likely be enforced from the beginning of February across the state.
Mendocino County supervisors, another wine producing area north of Napa County, after a unanimous vote, yesterday, declared a drought emergency which can cause an “imminent threat of disaster” to the region.
According to state water managers, it can only supply 5% of the water sought by municipalities and the million acres farmland in state should they need to supply water to all that need it if the current dry weather conditions persist.