Drought emergencies have been declared in three Northern California areas. Stanislaus County supervisors issued the declaration as a step in obtaining federal relief funds for ranchers whose cattle-grazing land is extremely dry because of lack of winter rain. A disaster assessment report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated a 95% loss to dry pasture land in the county and a 50% loss to irrigated pasture. Merced County supervisors also adopted a drought emergency ordinance that calls for water rationing. And the East Bay Municipal Utility District set a drought rationing plan boosting bills for customers using more than 200 gallons of water a day. The program will more than double the bills for households exceeding 1,200 gallons. The plan, adopted unanimously, will go into effect June 1.
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