California soaked…but still deep in drought

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Last week’s storms may have brought the highest rainfall totals to the Los Angeles areas in years, but it did little quench the state’s oppressive drought.

click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map of California, released on March 6, 2014. According to the latest “Drought Monitor” report released Thursday, 22 percent of California remains in exceptional drought, down slightly from 26 percent last week.

"Obviously this rain helps, but we need a lot more to get caught up," Carol Smith, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, told Reuters.

The rain did help to temporarily ease irrigation requirements and aided drought-stressed rangeland and winter grains. However, it moved too far south to provide optimal amounts of moisture in California’s key watershed areas.

Read the full “Drought Monitor” report here.

On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a $687 million drought-relief package to deal with a water shortage he calls the worst in the state’s modern history.

“This legislation marks a crucial step – but Californians must continue to take every action possible to conserve water,” Brown said in a statement.

But some in the state are taking matters into their own hands – literally.

Desperate farmers have turned to unusual resources to locate any water lost to the naked eye – dowsers, also known as water witches.

According to Wunderground, dowsers, usually cooper sticks or wooden “divining rods,” are used by practitioners who believe the tools are a natural energy that can find water or minerals hidden underground. However, scientists aren’t convinced.

"There's no scientific basis to dowsing. If you want to go to a palm reader or a mentalist, then you're the same person who's going to go out and hire a dowser," said Tom Ballard, a hydrogeologist with Taber Consultants, a geological engineering firm based in West Sacramento

Read more here.

Other Farmers and ranchers have turned to a higher power to help bring relief. Some, such as rancher Nathan Carver are left praying for rain.  Catholic bishops have also stepped in to help, asking people of all faiths to join in prayer for rain. In a news release, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops offered sample prayers for those interested in praying for rain.


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