The biggest storm of the winter in drought-ridden California has moved on to the east, leaving behind apparently too little moisture too late to provide a reprieve from water rationing.
In the aftermath of four days of spotty rain and snow, water still is pouring into reservoirs behind Northern California's big dams. Water in storage is still far below the dams' capacity. Snow packs ranging from two to eight feet deep - still well below normal - crown the crests of the Sierra.As the storm clouds abated, neither state nor local governments were calling off their rationing plans in the fifth year of the water shortage.
"So far, what we've got is not enough to increase deliveries," said Al Jones, spokesman for the Department of Water Resources, which manages the State Water Project, California's second largest water-distribution system. The project has halted all deliveries of water to agriculture, and cut urban customers to 10 percent of normal.
Mandatory water rationing will soon be in effect in all of the state's largest cities, following this week's announcement by the Metropolitan Water District that it will cut supplies to cities by 30 percent. The district, which serves much of Southern California, also announced it would cut deliveries to farmers by 90 percent.
Francesca Krauel, a director of the San Diego County Water Authority, predicted its board would act Thursday on a plan to impose countywide restrictions on lawn watering and car washing.
"Lawns are just going. You won't be able to use sprinklers unless you have drip irrigation," Krauel said Tuesday.