BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — All of Kern County is now in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Previously, a few parts of the county were considered to be in severe drought. However, a very dry start to the year has caused the drought to worsen.
The Drought Monitor shows that most of the state is also now in extreme drought, with coastal areas being among the exceptions. Parts of Inyo and San Bernardino counties are in exceptional drought.
An extreme drought is defined by the Drought Monitor as the following:
- Livestock need expensive supplemental feed, cattle and horses are sold; little pasture remains, producers find it difficult to maintain organic meat requirements
- Fruit trees bud early; producers begin irrigating in the winter
- Federal water is not adequate to meet irrigation contracts; extracting supplemental groundwater is expensive
- Dairy operations close
- Fire season lasts year-round; fires occur in typically wet parts of state; burn bans are implemented
- Ski and rafting business is low, mountain communities suffer
- Orchard removal and well drilling company business increase; panning for gold increases
- Low river levels impede fish migration and cause lower survival rates
- Wildlife encroach on developed areas; little native food and water is available for bears, which hibernate less
- Water sanitation is a concern, reservoir levels drop significantly, surface water is nearly dry, flows are very low; water theft occurs
- Wells and aquifer levels decrease; homeowners drill new wells
- Water conservation rebate programs increase; water use restrictions are implemented; water transfers increase
- Water is inadequate for agriculture, wildlife, and urban needs; reservoirs are extremely low; hydropower is restricted