Secretary John Laird issued the following statement:
“California has just ended one of the driest years in recorded history in many areas. Today’s snowpack measurement was an abysmal 20 percent of normal. This is a clear call for all of us to cut back on the amount of water we use watering lawns and landscaping. We have to keep our showers short, and run our washing machines and dishwashers only when we have a full load.
Because we rely on just a few big winter storms in December, January, and February to build our snowpack and refill our reservoirs and groundwater basins, there is still some potential for relief. However, at the Governor’s direction, a drought task force is meeting regularly to monitor dry conditions and determine the most appropriate action moving forward.
In the long-term, California must continue to focus on actions to modernize our water delivery system by completing the environmental planning process for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Right now, we cannot move water in a way that is safe for fish, but is also necessary to ride out these dry periods without significant economic disruption. With the conveyance proposed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan in place, the Central Valley this year would have an extra 800,000 acre-feet of water in the San Luis Reservoir. This effort to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and greatly enhance the water system’s reliability is the best investment we can make right now in our water future.”
“Today’s snowpack measurements coupled with the already dismal allocation leaves California’s water agencies in a tough position,” said Terry Erlewine, general manager of the State Water Contractors. “We are seeing record-setting dry conditions across the state without end in sight. These conditions are worse than some of the most devastating droughts our state has ever seen.” …
“During these especially dry times, public water agencies work hard to ensure adequate water supplies for customers,” added Erlewine. “These efforts include depending heavily on storage, drawing from groundwater basins; but it also means increased conservation measures and restrictions. The state’s agricultural areas will see major impacts as the lack of water will result in the need to fallow important farmland.”
“Sacramento-area water providers are carefully considering the unusually dry conditions and the impact on local water supplies. Several have triggered Water Shortage Contingency Plans, which increase the public’s awareness about the prolonged dry streak and encourage customers to use less water. These agencies include:
City of Folsom (reduce up to 20 percent)
Sacramento County Water Agency (reduce up to 20 percent)
San Juan Water District (reduce up to 20 percent)
Rio Linda/Elverta Community Water District (reduce up to 20 percent)
Fair Oaks Water District (reduce up to 10 percent)
“Other water providers, including the cities of Sacramento and Roseville, are also actively discussing water use reductions. If conditions worsen, additional water providers will likely trigger shortage contingency plans and may implement more stringent measures such as mandatory reductions and expanded water waste patrols. …
“Water providers in the Sacramento region have been working for decades to prepare for dry periods like this by expanding the capacity to use groundwater in dry years, using recycled water, and implementing regional and individual water efficiency programs. While local water providers continue working to ensure the region has reliable, high-quality water supplies for the long term, residents must also do their part to save water every day, which helps stretch supplies and preserves water in the local waterways that help make the Sacramento region unique.”