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DWR Drops State Water Project Allocation to Zero

Severe Drought Leads to Worst-Ever Water

Supply Outlook

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 12.06.09 PMTo protect Californians’ health and safety from more

severe water shortages

in the months ahead, the California Department of

Water Resources (DWR)

today took actions to conserve the state’s precious

resources. As a result

, everyone – farmers, fish, and people in our cities and towns –

will get less water. DWR’s actions are in direct response to Governor

Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s drought State of Emergency. In the declaration, the

Governor directed

DWR and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to act to modify

requirements

that hinder conservation of currently stored water and allow flexibility within

the state’ s

water system to maintain operations and meet environmental needs.

“The harsh weather leaves us little choice,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin.

“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.”

Except for a small amount of carryover water from 2013, customers of the

State Water Project

(SWP) will get no deliveries in 2014 if current dry conditions persist and

deliveries to agricultural

districts with long-standing water rights in the Sacramento Valley may be cut

50 percent – the

maximum permitted by contract – depending upon future snow survey results.

It is important to note

that almost all areas served by the SWP have other sources of water, such as

groundwater, local reservoirs,

and other supplies.

“It is our duty to give State Water Project customers a realistic understanding

of how much water

they will receive from the Project,” said Director Cowin. “Simply put, there’s not

enough water in the

system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project.”

DWR also has asked the SWRCB to adjust water permit terms that control State

Water Project and

federal Central Valley Project operations in order to preserve dwindling supplies

in upstream

reservoirs for farms, fisheries, and cities and towns as the drought continues.

While additional winter storms may provide a limited boost to reservoir storage

and water deliveries

, 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.

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