A press release sent out today by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced more devastating news for water users in California. In response Governor Brown’s Drought Declaration, the DWR and State Water Resource Control Board will take action to conserve currently stored water that remains at critically low levels. The result is a 0% allocation of water for State Water Project (SWP) customers if current weather conditions persist. This comes after their December announcement projecting a 5% allocation. Even long standing water rights customers in the Sacramento Valley will feel the pain with this announcement, with delivery cuts of up to 50%!
Never before has the DWR allocated 0% water for the 29 public water agencies that utilize the SWP. It is estimated that those 29 water agencies supply water to 25 million Californians and roughly 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland! Impacts could be disastrous!
It seems none are exempt from the pain of the drought, including delicate environmental regulations that monitor water quality in the Delta. According to the DWR report, a formal petition has been filed with the SWRCB “to adjust requirements for freshwater outflow in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in order to preserve stored water that may be needed later in the year…”
These announcements came after yesterday’s decision by the Bureau of Reclamation to preserve rescheduled water supplies that CVP farmers had banked as a hedge against dry conditions. Even with this decision, federal CVP users will fallow thousands and thousands of acres of farmland in 2014, sending local economies spiraling and hundreds of families that rely on agriculture work, unemployed.
For more information on this Press Release, water conservation measures, snowpack results and more, click the link to DWR’s website: http://www.water.ca.gov/recent_news.cfm.