Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The North Coast needs an additional foot of rain between now and May just to get back to drought conditions seen in 1977, and even then Lake Mendocino could still go bone dry by autumn for the first time in recorded history, water officials said Tuesday.
The warning stunned North Coast grape growers who packed a Cloverdale meeting hall Tuesday to discuss ways of saving their crops amid the worst drought any of them can recall.
None of the strategies, which ranged from installing more wind machines to covering ponds with plastic tarps to reduce evaporation, compared with what everyone agreed is the most pressing need: more rain and lots of it.
If Lake Mendocino runs dry, it could be disaster for growers, in particular those with vineyards along the upper Russian River. Many rely on water from Lake Mendocino for irrigation, as well as for frost protection.
“If you’re below Dry Creek, it’s going to be a bad year. If you’re above Dry Creek, it’s going to be a biblical year,” said Sean White, general manager of the Russian River Flood Control District.