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Governor Brown Issues Order to Continue Water Savings as Drought Persists

May 9, 2016

Today, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order (PDF) that builds on temporary statewide emergency water restrictions to establish longer-term water conservation measures, including permanent monthly water use reporting, new permanent water use standards in California communities and bans on clearly wasteful practices such as hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes.

More drought-related executive orders are available on DWR's Drought Declaration webpage.

State Water Project Allocation Increased

April 21, 2016

With runoff from spring storms boosting reservoir levels, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today increased its water delivery estimate for most recipients to 60 percent of requests for the calendar year.

DWR’s initial State Water Project (SWP) allocation, announced in December, was 10 percent of requests. As storms developed, the allocation was increased to 15 percent on January 26, then to 30 percent on February 24 and 45 percent on March 17.

Today’s boost to a 60 percent allocation is mostly due to March storms that soaked Northern California after a mostly dry February. Still, the state’s historic drought is far from over.

The storms that have nearly filled key northern reservoirs, including Shasta, Oroville and Folsom, largely skipped the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California where reservoir storage remains low and some communities have seen their wells go dry. It normally takes more than one wet year to erase the impacts of multi-year droughts, and decades to replenish groundwater levels.

Accurately predicting whether water year 2017 will be wet, dry, or average is beyond the skill of climate forecasters, so California must be prepared for the possibility that next year will be dry.

“Conservation is the surest and easiest way to stretch supplies,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We all need to make the sparing, wise use of water a daily habit.”

The 29 public agencies that receive SWP water (State Water Project Contractors) requested 4,172,786 acre-feet of water for 2016. With today’s allocation increase, they will receive 2,527,629 acre-feet. Collectively, the SWP Contractors serve approximately 25 million Californians and just under a million acres of irrigated farmland.

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