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If 2013 was a Very Dry Year, Why Hasn't California Declared a Drought

By Jake Reiner, Reporter, JakeReiner@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Jan 02 2014 08:43:28 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2014 10:54:41 AM CST
Ag Report
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

The term "drought" has different meanings to different governors, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

The last drought was in 2007 and lasted through 2009, but the same principles used to determine that drought may be completely different in 2014.

Gov. Jerry Brown has issued an executive order to speed up the process on water transfers to areas that desperately need it, the DWR said.

The group in charge is called the Interagency Drought Task Force and they also suggest to the governor when it's time to call a drought.

Right now it's obvious that pockets of California are experiencing dryer than normal conditions, but calling it a drought is based on impact to the state as a whole.

"We are starting to survey what exactly those impacts are throughout the state,” said Bill Croyle, with DRW. “We are concerned about fisheries, fire, existing ground water supplies, as well as service water supplies for both our urban environment and our agricultural environment."

DRW officials will do their annual snow survey in the sierra Friday. That survey gives an indication of how much snow melt will make its way down the valley into the rivers and reservoirs for farms and businesses.

The DWR says it's still too early in the winter to tell if California is in a drought because half the time the state starts out with a dry winter.