Shasta County declares local drought emergency

May 6, 2014 8:25 PM

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors is asking residents to sit up and take notice to what's been an ongoing crisis this year.

"We have by board approval unanimously declared a drought in Shasta County. The goal is to bring attention to detail and make available finances, direction, and policy to every Shasta County water purveyor," said Shasta County Supervisor Les Baugh.

Weather conditions in the North State continue to look bleak, despite above average rain in March.

"This was precipitated by the lack of rainfall this winter. We had about half the rain we normally get, and so we're only going to get about one-third of the runoff," said Shasta County Public Works Director Patrick Minturn.

The water levels in the Shasta Dam Reservoir are at 88 feet below the crest.

That's 53% capacity, well below the average for this time of the year.

"In a normal year, or a good water year, we would be in the final stages of filling. In May, we'd be looking to top off the reservoir," said Brian Pearson, an area manager for the Bureau of Reclamation.

County officials are stressing the importance of conservation.

Water districts are dealing with allocation cutbacks from the Bureau of Reclamation, and consumers who go over will see the effects in their pocketbooks.

"Folks who go over will be hit with tiered price increases, as they should be. Folks need to manage their own water, folks don't want to see the government come out and turn off their meter two-thirds of the way through the month because they've used too much water, but when they get the bill they're gonna know they have," Minturn said.

This is just the beginning in a series of steps the county is taking to deal with the drought.

Today's resolution asks residents to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20%.


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