Signs of the drought drying out San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Signs of the drought drying out San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Governor Jerry Brown has proclaimed a drought emergency, allowing California to seek financial aid from the federal government during a third dry year. Here in San Diego County, we have had below average rainfall since 2011, many saying we've already been experiencing our own drought.

The signs of San Diego drought are easy to spot. Water levels are down at Lake Hodges and Lake Miramar. Environmentalists say the drying out is a signal to save.

"Here in San Diego County, we import 80 percent of our water from outside the region. So being water importers, we have the responsibility to use that water as efficiently as possible," Travis Pritchard of San Diego Coastkeeper said.

With little rainfall this winter, hillsides are slow to re-grow vegetation, a huge concern for fire officials.

"The conditions are just prime for a major wildfire. We have those low humidities, the high temperatures, the winds the red flag fire warnings. Everything is in effect for a dangerous fire," Kendal Bortisser of Cal Fire said.

Many San Diegans are stressed out about drought, watching plants wilt and root systems

rot. So how do greenthumbs battle back?

"Deep watering, so you allow the water to soak into the soil. Don't apply a little bit every day, because that just evaporates off into the air. But if you deep water, it's going 2-3 feet into the soil, and the root system will drive down and get it," Tiger Palafox of Mission Hills Nursery said.

For livestock, a drought can be deadly and a financial folly for farmers.

"They depend this time of year on that grass to be about belly-high so the beef cattle out there can eat. So what they're doing is they're starting to sell off their stock. They're selling off their future breeding stock because they can't afford to keep them," Eric Larson of the San Diego County Farm Bureau said.

We're told that chicken ranches in San Diego County's backcountry are already feeling the drought. Chickens decrease egg laying when there is alack of water and unseasonably warm temperatures.

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