Yosemite Falls still spectacular despite state water shortage

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — California's drought seems like fiction up here with thundering Yosemite Falls leaving lines of gawkers soaked and shivering.

The 2,425-foot trio of waterfalls - the tallest in North America - can easily be seen a mile away, but visitors can't resist getting up close to that blast of icy water.

"This is my favorite place in the world," said Christy Rosa of Los Angeles, who was celebrating her 60th birthday in Yosemite National Park. "I wouldn't miss this."

There might be quite a waterfall show this year, despite the statewide drought. The snowpack above the park's two major rivers - the Tuolumne and the Merced - was near 90% of average on April 1.

The near-average snowpack in this part of Yosemite provides much-needed water for California, but it isn't enough to make a big difference, state officials say. The water content in the 400-mile-long Sierra Nevada snowpack is less than 70% of average for this time of year.

Legal protections for fish and dry conditions have left many west San Joaquin Valley farmers with 10% of their irrigation water for summer. The city of Fresno last week tweaked rules to forbid people from watering lawns during the day when more water is needed because of evaporation.

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