A host of worried farmers testified at a panel gauging the effect of drought in Nevada at a state hearing in Sparks Wednesday. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.
Representatives from the cattle, wool and farming industries spoke at the Nevada Drought Forum, arguing against any further cutbacks in water allocation.
The farmers said the drought and subsequent water restrictions had slashed their incomes, increased operating costs and made it hard to plan for the future.
Leo Drozdoff chairs the panel and says they're collecting a candid picture of how the drought is affecting different sectors.
"We are getting very honest discussion about areas that are working well and areas that probably need some work."
State Climatologist Doug Boyle also testified at the hearing. He says 16 percent of the state is still categorized as being in deep drought, but it appears more likely that heavy rains may visit the state this winter.
"There's a 90 percent chance that those strong El Nino conditions will persist through this coming winter and an 85 percent chance that it will last through the spring," he says.
How much this will impact Nevada's rainfall is still uncertain, says Boyle, since weather patterns are volatile.
This is the final information-gathering session ahead of a Carson City drought summit next month. From there, the panel will make a report in November, which could include recommendations for tweaking the state's water laws.