SACRAMENTO – In a move to protect residents from more severe water shortages, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Friday it was taking several actions to conserve the state's water supply.
"The harsh weather leaves us little choice," DWR Director Mark Cowin said. "If we are to have any hope of coping with continued dry weather and balancing multiple needs, we must act now to preserve what water remains in our reservoirs."
According to Cowin, customers of the State Water Project (SWP) will receive no water deliveries in 2014 barring additional precipitation. Twenty-nine water districts up and down the state contract with SWP.
"It would need to rain and snow heavily every other day from now until May to get us back to average annual rain and snowfall. Even then, California still would be in a drought, because normally wet December and January have been critically dry – and follow a record dry 2013 and a dry 2012," Cowin said.
As such, SWP customers will only receive a small amount of carryover from 2013, and if dry conditions persist, agricultural districts with long-standing water rights in the Sacramento Valley may be cut 50 percent, Cowin stated.
Affected are these Northern California and San Joaquin Valley municipalities/districts: Solano County Water Agency; Yuba City; Butte County; Plumas County Flood Control & Water Conservation District; Napa County Flood Control & Water Conservation District; Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, Zone 7; Alameda County Water District; Santa Clara Valley Water District; Empire West Side Irrigation District; Kings County; Dudley Ridge Water District; Kern County Water Agency; Oak Flat Water District and Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District. The remaining contractors, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, are in Southern California.
"Simply put, there's not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project," Cowin said.
According to a release from the DWR, 2014 is shaping up to be the driest year in recorded state history.