WASHINGTON Feb 6 Already struggling with cuts
to agricultural production and other impacts from a record
setting drought, California faces the prospect of lower
hydroelectric power generation as well, a U.S. government report
said on Thursday.
A persistent dry spell has drained water supplies in
California and neighboring Nevada. About 60 percent of
California is now classified as experiencing extreme drought,
the Energy Information Administration said in a "Today in
A smaller part of the state is in "exceptional drought," the
worst category in the U.S. drought monitor index, the National
Drought Mitigation Center showed in a weekly report.
Snowpack - an indication of how much water will be available
to fill reservoirs and power hydroelectric generators throughout
the year - in the northern Sierra Nevada range is about
one-fifth of normal.
"Drought is lowering expectations for water supply in the
state, which would include hydroelectric dams," Tyson Brown, an
EIA hydropower analyst, told Reuters.
Projections for water levels throughout California and
Nevada were less than half of seasonal averages as of Wednesday,
said the EIA, the statistical branch of the Department of
In a Jan. 7 forecast, the EIA said the western United
States, including California, would produce 475,000 megawatt
hours of electricity per day in 2014, up from 470,000 megawatt
hours in 2013.
The agency is scheduled to release its next hydropower
generation forecast on Tuesday.
Hydroelectric dams have accounted for varying portions of
electricity generated within California since 1989, from 11
percent in 1992, a low-water year, to 28 percent in 1995, a
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Ros Krasny and