In south state, lingering drought worries farmers
"We are getting some rain," Doty said.
"You guys have been hoarding it all in Northern California, because I really haven’t had that much," said Terry Munz, a dryland grain farmer west of Lancaster in Los Angeles County.
The Southern California water year, which began Oct. 1, has been below average so far, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which said southern Santa Barbara, Ventura, southern Kern and northwestern Los Angeles counties remain in a state of severe drought.
Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County and Lake Casitas and Lake Piru in Ventura County remain far below average, according to the monitor, as do several reservoirs in Los Angeles County.
As of last week, he’d seen 7.5 inches of rain, he said.
"I haven’t had more than 7 inches of rain here for five years," he said.
"Most crops are salt-sensitive, so the more salt we put on the ground, the more tip burn we get."
The Drought Monitor had encouraging news for Stehly and his neighbors: As of late last week, the Sierra snowpack held more than 160 percent of its average water content for this time of year.
He said the region averages 12 inches of rain per year, and as of last week, rainfall stood at a little more than 7 inches.
"I wouldn’t have to farm for 10 years, or I’d just have to do it again.