California’s drought could linger for years, warn researchers

California should expect a ‘fourth dry year’ as drought persists

Kurtis Alexander | USA TODAY

California’s drought is a complex condition, and the state may have more than one year where the conditions are so bad that state water officials may have to consider pulling the plug on the Central Valley’s massive desalination facility in Imperial County, located near Merced.

Just a day after state officials announced a plan to build the giant plant in Imperial County with California’s water supply, the same agency said the drought is “the most severe ever recorded,” and that it may be entering “a fourth dry year.”

“The extreme nature of the drought, along with the water source, has made it the most difficult and costly to manage,” said Joe Berlinger, the state’s director of Emergency Services, who added that while they were encouraged by the recent rains, the conditions are still “very tough.”

The drought in California has been “worse than any one could have imagined,” said John King, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In California, the state’s agriculture, water and energy industries – particularly water and energy industries – are being squeezed by the drought and its effects.

The state has struggled for the past year with water supplies that have dwindled to a trickle, and in May Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency amid warnings that without help, rivers and streams would run dry.

The drought has also caused farmers and ranchers to make tough decisions – cutting back on irrigation and crop production, and buying or rationing water from other states.

The state’s water situation became worse after a major storm in early June sent water levels in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers below the Environmental Protection Agency’s minimum daily flow standards, forcing state water officials to declare a statewide emergency.

More: After months of drought, drought’s lingering effects linger

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More: California drought could linger for years, warn researchers

California’s Department of Water Resources is pumping out more water to keep the drought going, while the state has cut back on irrigation and diverted water from rivers and reservoirs, including the Sacramento River.

But while the drought has been a major issue for this year, it actually began more than a year ago.

The state has

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