Drought

California is suffering through unprecedented drought. Water cutbacks mean significant reductions in rice plantings in the Sacramento Valley, which impacts farms, rural communities, the economy and environment.

Media Coverage
  • Water Shortage impacts Rice and Wildlife

    Grower Mike Daddow comments on the lack of water in the Natomas area for rice straw decomposition and wildlife habitat.

    Watch his comments
  • Change of Season, Change of Perspective

    Optimism rises for a restorative wet winter In the Sacramento Valley.

    Read Tim Johnson’s Blog
  • Concern for the Pacific Flyway

    Wildlife Manager Dan Frisk comments on concern for adequate bird habitat during the upcoming migration through our area.

    Watch his comments
  • Looking at Sites through a Different Lens

    Drought has brought idle ground throughout the Sacramento Valley and brings the need for additional water storage into clear focus.

    Read Lauren LaGrande’s Blog
  • 2 things Rice Farmers do with water after they grow your Sushi Rice!

    Water used to grow rice provides big benefits to fish and fowl. Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson explains.

    Read his blog
  • Three things rice farmers are worried about in early August

    Farming is full of challenges, especially this year. Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson comments on what’s on every grower’s mind.

    Read his blog
  • Wildlife and Drought

    National Geographic provides this comprehensive story about drought concern for Sacramento Valley wildlife.

    Read the story
  • More than meets the eye

    The value of agriculture in the Sacramento Valley extends well beyond tractors and harvesters, explains the Rice Commission’s Jim Morris.

    Read his blog
  • Water conservation and habitat degradation

    Rice grower Sean Doherty writes about the multiple benefits from water use in the Sacramento Valley.

    Read his blog
  • Clarity at 23,000 feet

    Flying over the Sacramento Valley shows the severe impacts of the ongoing drought, according to the Rice Commission’s Jim Morris.

    Learn more
  • Domino Effect from Drought

    Reduced rice plantings will impact much more than farmers. Dennis Lindberg comments from his farm in Butte County.

    View his comments
  • Assembly Speaker comments on California Rice

    While attending the California Rice Commission's Circle of Life Reception, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins provided comments on the value of rice.

    Watch her comments
  • Idle

    The drought means about 175,000 fewer acres of rice in the Sacramento Valley. The Rice Commission’s Jim Morris visits an idled Field in Colusa County.

    Watch his comments
  • Water use in Rice, separating fact from hyperbole

    A University of California expert discusses the facts involving water consumption in Sacramento Valley rice fields.

    Learn more
  • What this fourth year of drought means for Sacramento Valley Rice Farmers and the Environment

    Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson outlines the major cutbacks in rice planting and highlights the positive environmental work in our region.

    Read his blog
  • Myth – Rice growers are farming in the drought to get crop subsidies

    California Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson dispels a myth involving rice farming and Government subsidies.

    Read his blog
  • A fuller picture of water transfers in this fourth year of drought

    The latest information from the California Rice Commission and Northern California Water Association.

    Read more
  • Rice Plantings reduced but hope remains

    His final rice field planted, grower Punch Haskell comments on the year ahead for his farm in Glenn County.

    Read his blog
  • Caring for our environment during drought

    President & CEO of Point Blue Conservation Service Ellie Cohen comments on the importance of helping wildlife during drought and the value of California Rice in the process.

    View her comments
  • Paying for water – Ducks don’t have pockets but Hollywood does

    California Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson Explains that wildlife would be a big casualty if water is priced for the highest bidder.

    Read his blog
  • A Season like no other

    He has grown rice for more than seventy years, and Dennis Lindberg says none compares to the challenge of this drought.

    Read his blog
  • The Power of a Puddle

    Sacramento Valley rice fields have only five inches of water in them during the growing season. Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson explains the tremendous benefits from water for rice.

    Read his blog
  • Drought Realities

    Grower Sandy Denn comments on the difficult growing season ahead in the Sacramento Valley.

    Watch her blog
  • Doing our best with what we have

    A new season has begun and it brings significant challenges for rice growers. Sutter County grower Tom Butler comments.

    Read his blog
  • More efficient and far more sacrifice than you’d believe

    The Sacramento Valley is greening up for the season, but the Rice Commission’s Tim Johnson says looks can be deceiving.

    Read his blog
  • Water Use in California Fact Sheet

    View the facts
  • Droughts are a regular feature of California’s variable climate

    The Public Policy Institute of California talks about the current drought's effect on cities, farms and the environment.

    Watch the video
  • Lions, Tigers and Farms, Oh my!

    Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson dispels commonly-used myths about farm water use.

    Read his blog
  • The dichotomy of spring

    There’s great beauty in rice country but huge challenges await. The CRC's Jim Morris writes about the changes coming from the drought.

    Read his blog
  • Hope

    The drought is taking a toll but hope remains. More from the Rice Commission’s Jim Morris.

    Read his blog
  • Water sales not a windfall but will help the farm and allow for investments in the future

    The Rice Commission’s Tim Johnson comments on potential water sales in our region.

    Read his blog
  • Activity begins in Rice Country

    Grower Peter Rystrom in Butte County comments on work to prepare fields for planting.

    Watch his blog
  • Preparing for the new season

    Grower Charley Mathews Jr. from Yuba County comments on the approach of planting season in rice country.

    Watch his video blog
  • This year it will be worse

    A fourth year of drought will be painful for rice farmers, Sacramento Valley communities and our environment, writes Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson.

    Read his blog
  • Ongoing drought in Rice Country

    Grower Mike DeWit comments on the impact of four straight drought years for California Rice.

    Watch his comments
  • Glorious Mud

    While recent rainfall didn't end the drought, it's a welcome sight in rice country. The Rice Commission’s Jim Morris has more.

    Read his blog
  • The Return of Rain

    With harvest over and crop reports now in, we can get a better sense of the drought’s impact on farms. By any measure, it was one of the most severe droughts in memory.

    Read more here
  • Revisiting Folsom Lake

    Recent rains have brought improvements to the state’s water shortage. Folsom Lake is a prime example of the recovery.

    Read more here
  • The Return of Rain

    This rainy season is off to an improved start in the Sacramento Valley. Rice grower Tom Butler provides an account of what’s happening in his area.

    Read more here
  • Welcome Back Old Friend

    Recent storms are a welcome sight during this period of drought in the Sacramento Valley.

    Read more here
  • The threat of drought

    Rice grower Sandy Denn comments on the uncertainty of how the drought will affect rice country.

    Watch her video
  • Water and Rice – baseless attacks and twisting “facts”

    Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson comments on recent stories that take on water use in Sacramento Valley rice fields.

    Read his blog
  • Pacific Flyway drought concerns

    The Nature Conservancy’s Jay Ziegler expresses concern of what drought could mean for wildlife in Sacramento Valley Rice country.

    Watch the video
  • California Water Bond 101, Part Two

    Grower Fritz Durst speaks with reporter Jennifer Harrison about the importance of the water bond for our region and state.

    Watch the video
  • California Water Bond 101, Part One

    Reporter Jennifer Harrison speaks with Sacramento Valley grower Fritz Durst about the importance of the water bond to farms, cities and our environment.

    Watch the video
  • Sites Reservoir 101, Part Three

    The last in a series of questions and answers with Thad Bettner, General Manager of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, about the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County.

    Watch the video
  • Sites Reservoir 101, Part Two

    Straightforward talk about this critical part of improving California’s water storage.

    Watch the video
  • Sites Reservoir 101, Part One

    A top water official explains the basics of the Sites Reservoir project, which would provide tremendous help for future water storage in California.

    Watch the video
  • Wintering Waterfowl Habitat concerns loom large

    The drought is expected to sharply reduce the amount of water to decompose rice straw after harvest. The Rice Commission’s Paul Buttner says consequences to wildlife could be huge.

    Read his blog
  • Seeing Sites

    A remote part of Colusa County is a place that could hold the key to improving the future water outlook for California. Reporter Jennifer Harrison explains.

    Read her blog
  • Pacific Flyway Drought concerns

    A scientist with The Nature Conservancy comments on how drought may harm bird populations, and the valuable role farmers have in wildlife conservation.

    Watch his comments
  • Concern over water in rice fields for wildlife

    The Nature Conservancy’s Dawit Zeleke comments on concern about the amount of water available in rice fields after harvest. Shallow flooded rice fields provide habitat for millions of birds in the winter.

    Watch his comments
  • Drought impact could harm the Pacific Flyway

    Rice grower Sandy Denn comments on the possibility that little water will be available for straw decomposition, which would have a huge and detrimental impact on millions of birds.

    Watch her comments
  • Aerial Rice Views, Part Two

    More images from the west side of the Sacramento Valley, showing the drought impact in rice country. Photos by Brian Baer.

    View the images
  • Few are taking the drought seriously

    The water shortage throughout California requires action in the State Capitol, according to Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson.

    Read his blog
  • Aerial Rice Views

    Check out the drought impact in rice country through this series of photos from Brian Baer, taken along the west side of the Sacramento Valley.

    View the photos
  • Valley rice farmers persevere through drought

    Grower Sandy Denn in Glenn County updates conditions in Sacramento Valley rice country, including problems associated with the ongoing drought.

    Watch her comments
  • El Niño alone can’t save us

    California needs more than a wet fall and winter to end the drought. Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson explains.

    Read his blog
  • Drought Impacts in Rice Country

    Grower Mike DeWit comments on the impact the drought is having on their family farm and throughout the Sacramento Valley.

    View his comments
  • California Rice Acreage improves although drought persists

    A new estimate has raised the expected rice acreage in California. The Rice Commission’s Jim Morris says the increase will help although the drought impact remains significant.

    View his comments
  • Drought Implications

    The CRC’s Jim Morris updates expected losses from Sacramento Valley rice fields from the ongoing drought.

    View his comments
  • Reduced rice crop impacts wildlife

    The drought is taking a toll on the Sacramento Valley rice crop. With about 100,000 acres out of production, wildlife habitat Is sharply reduced. Audubon California’s Monica Iglecia comments from a fallow rice field.

    Watch her comments
  • New: Armstrong & Getty on Sac Valley Water use

    The radio hosts wade into a rice field and comment on the drought impact and surprising information on how water is used in the valley.

    Watch their comments
  • “An Environmentally Inappropriate Crop”
    Sentiment far from the truth


    The more people learn about California Rice fields, the greater their environmental benefits are understood. CEO Tim Johnson takes a historic look at changing views of rice farming.

    Read his blog
  • Armstrong & Getty in Rice Country

    The radio hosts visit a Sutter County rice farm and provide commentary on water efficiency and the drought impact.

    Watch the video
  • Aerial view of proposed Sites Reservoir location

    The drought has amplified the need for additional water storage. Check out this aerial footage of the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County, edited by Kurt Richter. Water official Thad Bettner provides commentary.

    Watch the video
  • Water as seen in a wine barrel fountain

    California Rice Commission President & CEO Tim Johnson explains the water rights system in the Sacramento Valley.

    Read his blog
  • Drought impact in rice country

    Rice planting is underway in the Sacramento Valley. Nicole Van Vleck of Montna Farms comments on the impact the drought and reduced water deliveries will have.

    View her comments
  • Sacramento Valley water allocations improve

    General Manager of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District Thaddeus Bettner comments on a boost in water allocations.

    Watch his comments
  • Rice Water Use Infographic

    California Rice is much more water efficient than many people realize. Find out about some surprising comparisons involving water use In rice and other areas.

    Learn more
  • The impact of drought in the Sacramento Valley

    Questions and answers about the expected impact of drought on farms, communities and the environment north of Sacramento.

    Find out more
  • Armstrong & Getty water use comparisons

    The radio hosts visit the State Capitol Mall to discuss water use efficiency in rice and how much water it takes to grow a variety of things.


  • Water supplies challenged but improving


  • Drought may dry up small town economies

    Reduced crops because of drought could have a major impact in the rural communities in the Sacramento Valley.


  • New: Drought damage could ripple throughout the Sacramento Valley

    General Manager Lewis Bair of Reclamation District 108 comments on the sweeping impacts that may lie ahead from reduced farming due to the drought.


  • New- Major push underway to improve California Water Storage

    Congressmen LaMalfa and Garamendi launch an effort to get the Sites Reservoir built in Colusa County. This reservoir would provide a huge increase in California's water storage.

    View comment from Congressman Doug LaMalfa


    View comment from Congressman John Garamendi

  • New- Drought concerns in the Sacramento Valley

    General Manager Thaddeus Bettner of the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District comments on what the drought could mean for farms, communities and wildlife.


  • CRC Blog- Rice and Wetlands: Exceptionally critical to Waterbirds in low water years

    The value of rice fields has never been greater during this dry period. The CRC’s Paul Buttner and Mark Biddlecomb with Ducks Unlimited have more.

    Read More
  • New Grower Blog- Groundwater may partly mitigate drought impacts

    Farmer Dennis Lindberg comments on how wells may help during the drought.

  • CRC Blog- Where is Sites and why is it important to every Californian?


    Travel with the CRC’s Jim Morris to rural Colusa County, to a location that could play a large role in solving future water shortages in the state.

    Read More
  • A Naturalist in Rice Country, Part One

    Naturalist, Artist and Educator John Muir Laws visits Rice Country and finds them lacking one important component- water.


  • What the Drought will mean in Rice Country

    Rice Commission President & CEO Tim Johnson provides perspective on the known and unknown aspects of the drought.

    Read More
  • Epic Grind

    Less water in rice fields hurts wildlife. Leslie Morris captured this video clip in Colusa County with more than 200,000 Snow Geese in a rice field with water in it.


Recent Blogs on the Drought: