Extreme Drought Conditions Prompt Hold on State Water Deliveries in CA

February 1, 2014 14:00 pm · 26 comments

The California Department of Water Resources announced today that there will be no water deliveries to customers in the wake of a statewide drought.

Customers of the State Water Project will get no deliveries in 2014 if the current dry conditions continue, according to department officials.

Deliveries to agricultural districts may be cut by 50 percent. According to department officials, the water project has never before agreed to zero allocation for all of the 29 public water agencies that buy from it.

Carryover water stored by local agencies and bought by water agencies will still be delivered, officials said.

Department of Water Resources director Mark Cowin said in a statement today, “Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project.”

The zero percent allocation of freshwater from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was made to preserve stored water that may be needed later in the year for health and safety needs, officials said.

The State Water Project supplies water to 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland. The water is transported to urban and agricultural communities in Northern California, the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, and Southern California.

This year is looking to be the driest year in state history with reservoir storage at its lowest since 1977.

The snowpack is only at 12 percent of average for this time of year.

To get back to average rain and snowfall levels it would need to rain and snow heavily every other day from now until May, according to department officials.

Earlier this month Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency as water shortages loomed. Today he commented on the Department of Water Resources decision.

“Today’s action is a stark reminder that California’s drought is real. We’re taking every possible step to prepare the state for the continuing dry conditions we face,” he said.

The California Farm Bureau Federation, which represents nearly 78,000 family farmers and ranchers, responded to the zero allocation decision, calling it a “terrible blow” that was not unexpected.

In a statement today, federation president Paul Wenger said there will be “severe economic problems in our rural regions — loss of jobs and economic activity…” as drought conditions persist.

The governor said there have been 125 additional Cal Fire firefighters hired to help with increased fire threat and the state Department of Public Health is offering assistance to water districts at risk of drinking water shortages.

Ben Dover February 1, 2014 at 2:15 PM

First they tell you when you can burn, next they will tell you that you can only wipe every other day!

jordan February 1, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Wanna save water close water world this year !!!

Dorothy February 1, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Wonder if that will put a stop to Brown’s pipe water dream?

LocalMom February 1, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Mayor, what does this mean for us families in Contra Costa County?

Bob the Repairman February 1, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Thank the enviromentalists who block the proposed dam projects that store water for just such instances. Hope they conserve!!

ConcordDad February 1, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Contra Costa Water district should be fine for now. Los Vaqueros has a decent volume of water in it, however I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a call for rationing as we get closer to summer. If we have another dry winter next year, all bets are off.

CW February 1, 2014 at 3:38 PM

We were down at Stanford last week and I could not believe that the university had their fountains running. Here individual families are getting told to cut back on their water usage yet big consumers like Stanford haven’t even turned off their fountains.

anon February 1, 2014 at 3:55 PM

And yet in southern CA at Pyramid Lake in Santa Clarita sits at 98% of capacity. Wonder how that happens with no rain or snow.

@ Boob the Repairman February 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

We can’t build enough damns or storage for the growing CA pop. We need to look at alternative sources.

TinFoiler February 1, 2014 at 5:09 PM

#4 – it means your food prices are about to go through the roof.

Democrats Don't Give A Dam February 1, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Republicans in the state legislature are proposing the immediate allocation of funds to build new dams (AB1445). Democrats, cowed by their environmental extremist sponsors, are proposing more recycling, more environmental support for the delta smelt.

Meanwhile, Jerry Brown refuses to cut back on his high speed train to nowhere. If we stopped that project and redirected the money to build up our water infrastructure, we would have enough water to last a multi-year drought.

I guess California voters are going to have to suffer more before they wake up and through the anti-water, anti-growth, anti-family democrats out of office.

Foonman February 1, 2014 at 6:37 PM

We have drought, so we can deal with it as it will change. However I dont want to see new building permits issued as it will make it worse. They should publish new building permits on the front page of the local paper every day as long as the drought lasts. Its a place to start.

Suburban Dad February 1, 2014 at 6:40 PM

“Build more dams” is an easy thing to say.
We have already have dams on every river in California except for the Smith and it’s too short to get much out of. Many of those rivers have multiple dams such as the Sacramento has Siskiyou and Shasta and the Tuolumne has Hetch Hetchy and Don Pedro. The American river system has over a dozen dams. There are more than 1300 named dams in California. Building more dams is not the answer.

Democrats Don't Give A Dam February 1, 2014 at 7:02 PM

@Suburban Dad

There are many more locations in California where dams could be built to provide water storage, fishing, and recreation.

Los Vaqueros did not dam a major river, but it does provide needed surface water storage.

Take a look at the Republican proposal AB144 and then come back and tell us “building more dams is not the answer”. .

Reality Slap February 1, 2014 at 7:20 PM

I hope the Water Districts use their heads if it comes down to mandatory rationing. There are many people who are voluntarily rationing that will be unfairly punished if the District’s put a “reduce your consumption by 20%” or face higher rates or fines. There needs to be a set amount of water for certain square footage of a property and number of persons living in the residence, rather than just requiring 20% less.

@10 February 1, 2014 at 7:40 PM

So my onion will cost 30 cents instead of 25 cents. Big deal.

RANDOM TASK February 1, 2014 at 8:16 PM

wow the bay bridge scam is still around and still the dems ultimate scam train is still on …oh that’s right you voted to make the MTC an absolute power ……lol now wonder why this state is wrecked and about to go bankrupt the criminals are the majority. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians ……reason why …….the Indians are too busy patting their own backs for ousting plastic bags and coffee from Berkley. Well kudos hope you like where this state goes ……40+ years of dem monarchy and all we have to show for it is schools that produce more thugs per capita than the jihadist. Well done voters …now pat your backs slowly now you don’t want to look too happy or the dems will smack you down with a no hands above your shoulders law.

slagheap February 1, 2014 at 9:46 PM

ha, ha, been weeks since i’ve visited this board. i see the head-cases like Dems Don’t Give A Dam and RANDOM TASK are still spewing nonsense. some things never change.
p.s. btw, there’s plenty of democrats that are fighting Brown’s two ludicrous ” legacy ” projects, the twin tunnel peripheral canal and the bullet train. those things are bipartisan disasters.

Landana February 2, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Its not just produce,already farmers are slaughtering livestock, more than normal because the watering holes are drying up.

Wendy Lack February 2, 2014 at 8:02 AM

What’s that weird wet stuff outside this morning?

RumDog February 2, 2014 at 8:29 AM

The party’s over … we’re out of beverage!
You don’t have to go home … but you can’t
stay here.

warbirds45 February 2, 2014 at 9:37 AM

One of the article’s I read stated the drought started 14 years ago, which showed an aerial view of the decreased capacities of the reservoir’s over that timeline.
With global warming, I always thought the installation of desalination plant’s along the coast would help with the shortage of water.
They are used quite a bit in the Middle Eat.

Always Right February 2, 2014 at 12:08 PM

@warbirds45 – I know people in So Cal who have tried time and again to get desal plants constructed in coastal areas of San Diego County. The Democrats, pushed by their masters the extreme environmentalist lobby, fight EVERY effort for new water sources.

Environmentalists hate growth and they hate suburbia. Anything that allows one more home to be built, one more job to be created, one more acre to be farmed, or one more human baby to be born is anathema to them.

Democrats are run by the environmentalist lobby, so what do you expect?

Chuckie's Wife February 2, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Do I hear a “let them drink wine”? I’m not sure what exactly this article means for the consumer. If there’s zero water delivery, wouldn’t that mean no water to my house? So then what?

slagheap February 2, 2014 at 4:00 PM

hey, warbirds45! really, you know some people, huh? like whom, har, har? got any articles, links, etc. that those mean old dems blocked the supposed projects proposed by the people you supposedly know? anything? ( …crickets…chirp, chirp. )

mike February 3, 2014 at 6:46 PM

My father and I were commercial fisherman for over 40 years. We have all ways taken the brunt of water problems with reduced or no seasons due to lack of water for salmon runs up the rivers. Now my point why does aggro get what they need when this year the f&g are talking about no season for many years to come and buying of all permits and boats. produce is not the only thing that will be unavailable or so expensive only restaurants could buy.

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