Calif. trying to prepare for another dry winter
U.S. Water News Online
SACRAMENTO — California is taking initial steps to prepare for another dry winter by trying to ensure that farmers and cities will have adequate water supplies in 2009.
Most reservoirs in the state have less water than usual, and some are near record lows.
Forecasters say it's too soon to tell whether the state will continue to have below-average precipitation.
If it does, the California Department of Water Resources plans to buy water from rice farmers and water agencies in the Sacramento Valley. It then will sell the water to cities and growers in the drier southern half of the state.
The department is requiring buyers to cut their normal use by 20 percent as a condition of participating in the so-called water bank.
State officials held a news conference to announce the initiative. They say they have many interested buyers so far but few sellers.
The state Department of Food and Agriculture says this year's drought has led to more than $260 million in agricultural losses.
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