State Water Project Delivery Projections Increase Five Percent
Picture Remains Grim Due to Cumulative Impacts of Drought & Regulatory Restrictions
The announcement indicates that the State Water Contractors, the public water agencies that purchase water from the SWP, are projected to get 20 percent of the water they are contracted to receive in 2009. The 20 percent projection is one of the lowest in California’s history. Collectively, the State Water Contractors serve 25 million people, 750,000 acres of farmland and businesses throughout Northern, Central and
“We are grateful for the sip of relief we’ve gotten from recent storms and the allocation increase,” said
In the past two years, overall water runoff from California’s major watersheds fell significantly, coming in at 53 percent of average in 2007 and 58 percent last year. Even with the recent rains, this year’s overall runoff is forecast to be just 64 percent of average. As of last week, the state’s seven major reservoirs were at 55 percent of their capacity.
“What is important to remember is that a drought is not a snapshot, but rather the cumulative result of too little precipitation over too long a time. At the same time, the drought situation has been exacerbated by a series of new limitations on water pumping by state and federal regulators and court orders,” added Moon.
The ongoing regulatory restrictions, aimed at saving declining fish populations such as the Delta smelt, cut the SWP’s water supply by nearly 30 percent in 2008 and have prevented water providers from being able to sensibly save and manage runoff. Even if massive rainstorms hit, this regulatory noose prevents water agencies from capturing and delivering the water nature has provided.
The current drought underscores the deeper structural problems facing
“It is critical for Californians to realize we are at a major crossroads in the way we manage and supply water across the state. The primary water delivery system, which runs through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, needs modernization and repair. The needs are urgent and critical,” added Moon.
As a result, water providers, scientists, policy experts and environmentalists are working together to redesign the way water is moved in
The comprehensive redesign is being developed through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan in an open and collaborative process. A new canal to move freshwater around the Delta is part of the vision, as are many other elements such as continued freshwater flows through the Delta, habitat restoration, water quality improvements and new safety measures for fish.
For more information on the BDCP, please visit http://www.resources.ca.gov/bdcp/.
The State Water Contractors is a statewide, non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and
SOURCE The State Water Contractors