October 30, 2008
Near Record-Low Water Allocation Paints Grim Picture for 2009
Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Executive Director Timothy Quinn issued the following statement today on the initial 2009 water supply allocations announced by the Department of Water Resources. The department has notified State Water Project contractors that they may receive just 15% of requested deliveries next year -- the second lowest initial allocation in the project's history. SWP contractors deliver water to 25 million Californians and more than 750,000 acres of farmland.
"This extremely low allocation leaves little doubt that we are in critical territory going into 2009. While the State Water Project service area will clearly see major impacts as a result of this allocation, the drought will continue to have a grip on the entire state. And it is likely to get worse before it gets better.
"All Californians have to take this seriously. Though many of the drought actions have been voluntary to this point, we see a trend toward more restrictive kinds of actions. Tight controls on outdoor water use will be the norm, and many Californians will see drought surcharges and higher water rates to encourage conservation.
"Even if it rains tomorrow or we end up with a wet year, we can't assume these problems will go away. It's a new day in California water as we deal with both drought and court-ordered restrictions on water deliveries. We have to invest in making our system -- and particularly the Delta -- more sustainable so we can meet the needs of species and the environment and still have a reliable water supply."
ACWA is partnering with the Department of Water Resources to coordinate drought assistance and public education efforts. More on ACWA's efforts and drought response measures is available at http://www.acwa.com/issues/drought2008/water_supply_conditions.asp.
ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 450 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com.
Contact: Jennifer Persike ACWA Director of Strategic Coordination and Public Affairs 916/441-4545 916/296-3981 (cell)
SOURCE: Association of California Water Agencies