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By Mark Gavit

As dry winter conditions continue, Gov. Jerry Brown can be expecting the California Department of Water Resources to present him with an emergency drought declaration draft.

Director of the DWR, Mark Cowin, told the California Board of Food and Agriculture that his agency is in the midst of deciding wether or not to present the governor with a drought declaration. Nancy Foley, spokeswoman for the DWR agency said that the declaration may appear "within a couple weeks."

California has been affected by a persistent high-pressure ridge looming over the Pacific Ocean that has blocked storms from entering the state. Long-range forecasts suggest the dry trend will continue for the balance of January., causing the next two months that are normally among the wettest for the state will produce barely anything in terms of precipitation.

tThe first regular snow survey of the winter season, conducted by the DWR on Jan. 3 at locations throughout the Sierra Nevada, found the snowpack at 19 percent of average on that date. Five days later, the snowpack shrunk to 17 percent. 

The San Juan Water District in Northern California will consider asking customers to stop all outdoor watering and begin efforts to cut indoor water use in half.  If dry conditions continue, the so-called “Stage 5” drought restrictions, the most severe category, likely would become mandatory in February.

Whether San Diego will ask its customers to restrict water use remains to be seen.


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