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Governor's Drought Declaration

California’s ongoing response to its five-year drought has been guided by a series of executive orders issued by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. that are listed below beginning with the most recent and continuing in reverse chronological order:

Executive Order B-37-16, May 9, 2016:
The Governor’s latest drought-related executive order established a new water use efficiency framework for California. The order bolstered the state’s drought resilience and preparedness by establishing longer-term water conservation measures that include permanent monthly water use reporting, new urban water use targets, reducing system leaks and eliminating clearly wasteful practices, strengthening urban drought contingency plans and improving agricultural water management and drought plans.

Executive Order B-36-15, November 13, 2015:
This executive order called for additional actions to build on the State’s ongoing response to record dry conditions and assist recovery efforts from 2015’s devastating wildfires.

Executive Order B-29-15, April 1, 2015:
Key provisions included ordering the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) to impose restrictions to achieve a 25-percent reduction in potable urban water usage through February 28, 2016; directing the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to lead a statewide initiative, in partnership with local agencies, to collectively replace 50 million square feet of lawns and ornamental turf with drought tolerant landscapes, and directing the California Energy Commission to implement a statewide appliance rebate program to provide monetary incentives for the replacement of inefficient household devices.

Executive Order B-28-14, December 22, 2014:
The order cited paragraph 9 of the January 17, 2014 Proclamation and paragraph 19 of the April 25, 2014 Proclamation (both are linked below) and extended the operation of the provisions in these paragraphs through May 31, 2016.

Executive Order B-27-14, October 6, 2014:
The order directed State agencies to assist local governments in their response to wildfires during California’s drought conditions.

Executive Order B-26-14, September 18, 2014:
The order facilitated efforts to provide water to families in dire need as extreme drought continued throughout California.

Proclamation of a Continued State of Emergency, April 25, 2014:
The order strengthened the State’s ability to manage water and habitat effectively in drought conditions and called on all Californians to redouble their efforts to conserve water.

Drought State of Emergency, January 17, 2014:
The Governor proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed State officials to take all necessary actions to make water immediately available. Key measures in the proclamation included:

  • Asking all Californians to reduce water consumption by 20 percent and referring residents and water agencies to the Save Our Water campaign – www.saveourwater.com – for practical advice on how to do so;
  • Directing local water suppliers to immediately implement local water shortage contingency plans;
  • Ordering the Board to consider petitions for consolidation of places of use for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, which could streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users;
  • Directing DWR and the Board to accelerate funding for projects that could break ground in 2014 and enhance water supplies;
  • Ordering the Board to put water rights holders across the state on notice that they may be directed to cease or reduce water diversions based on water shortages;
  • Asking the Board to consider modifying requirements for releases of water from reservoirs or diversion limitations so that water may be conserved in reservoirs to protect cold water supplies for salmon, maintain water supplies and improve water quality.

Public Posting of Certain Activities

The Governor's drought declaration required DWR to post certain information related to the drought response on its website. That includes posting activities or approvals for which DWR's obligations under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) have been suspended or for which Water Quality Control Plan compliance has been exempted.

The following actions have been taken by DWR to date under this section of the governor's drought declaration:

Water transfers 2015

  1. Agreement among Sutter Extension Water District, Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 1,500 acre-feet of water made available from groundwater substitution.
  2. Agreement among Foresthill Public Utility District, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and the Department of Water Resources for conveyance of a maximum of 2,000 acre-feet made available by reservoir reoperation.
  3. Agreement among Garden Highway Mutual Water Company, Dudley Ridge Water District, Oak Flat Water District, Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 1,520 acre-feet of water made available from groundwater substitution.
  4. Agreement among Plumas Mutual Water Company, Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 1,740 acre-feet of water made available from groundwater substitution.
  5. Agreement among South Sutter Water District, Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 5,580 acre-feet of water made available from groundwater substitution and reservoir reoperation.
  6. Agreement among South Feather Water and Power Agency, Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, County of Kings, Dudley Ridge Water District and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 10,000 acre-feet of water made available from reservoir reoperation.

Water transfers 2014

  1. Agreement between Butte Water District, Kern County Water Agency and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 15,505.6 acre-feet made available from both crop idling and groundwater substitution.
  2. Agreement between Sutter Extension Water District, Kern County Water Agency and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 14,992.7 acre-feet of water made available from crop idling and groundwater substitution.
  3. Agreement between Richvale Irrigation District, Kern County Water Agency and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 21,032.5 acre-feet of water made available by crop idling.
  4. Agreement between Western Canal Water District, County of Kings, Dudley Ridge Water District, Kern County Water Agency, Oak Flat Water District, and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 35,441.7 acre-feet of water made available by crop idling.
  5. Agreement between Biggs-West Gridley Water District, Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 3,677.36 acre-feet of water made available by crop idling.
  6. Agreement between Biggs-West Gridley Water District, Westlands Water District and the Department of Water Resources for storage and conveyance of a maximum of 15,224.95 acre-feet of water made available by crop idling.
  7. Agreement between the Merced Irrigation District, Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Department of Water Resources for conveyance of a maximum of 5,000 acre-feet of water made available by release from Lake McClure.
  8. Agreement between Garden Highway Mutual Water Company, San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority and the Department of Water Resources for conveyance of a maximum of 6,212 acre-feet of water made available by groundwater substitution.
  9. Agreement between Plumas Mutual Water Company, Dudley Ridge Water District and the Department of Water Resources for conveyance of a maximum of 2,000 acre-feet of water made available by groundwater substitution.
  10. Agreement between Plumas Mutual Water Company, Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the Department of Water Resources for conveyance of a maximum of 1,200 acre-feet made available by groundwater substitution.
  11. Agreement between Cordua Irrigation District, Kern County Water Agency, Dudley Ridge Water District, County of Kings and the Department of Water Resources for conveyance of a maximum of 1,857 acre-feet made available by a combination of reservoir reoperation and groundwater substitution.
  12. Agreement between Contra Costa Water District, Alameda County Water District and the Department of Water Resources for conveyance of a maximum of 5,000 acre-feet made available by a combination of reservoir reoperation and surface water substitution.
  13. Agreement between South Sutter Water District and Kern County Water Agency for conveyance of a maximum of 10,000 acre-feet made available by a combination of reservoir reoperation and groundwater substitution.

Other actions

  • Submission of a Temporary Urgency Change petition to modify the requirements of Water Rights Decision 1641, filed by DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on January 29, 2014, to enable water to be conserved upstream to protect listed species, and maintain water supply and water quality necessary for human health and safety. The petition is available here: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/tucp/bd_tucp.pdf. The State Water Resources Control Board order based on the petition is available here: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/tucp/bd_change_order.pdf.
  • DWR's obligations under CEQA for water transfers are suspended for the following agreements and activities. Each agreement enumerated below is effective either upon execution or May 1, 2014 and lasts until May 31, 2015 or upon full performance by the parties of their obligations, whichever occurs later.
  • Agreement between Westlands Water District and the Department of Water Resources for introduction and conveyance of up to 30,000 acre-feet of Westlands Water District's groundwater in the California Aqueduct. The agreement is effective upon execution and lasts until October 31, 2014, or upon final payment by WWD of all costs attributable to this agreement, whichever occurs later.
  • Amendment to extend the term of the agreement between Westlands Water District and the Department of Water Resources for the introduction and conveyance of up to 30,000 acre-feet of Westlands Water District's groundwater in the California Aqueduct. The amendment is effective upon execution and lasts until December 31, 2014, or upon final payment by WWD of all costs attributable to this agreement, whichever occurs later.
  • Agreement among the Department of Water Resources, Kern County Water Agency, Dudley Ridge Water District, Lost Hills Water District, Berrenda Mesa Water District, Semitropic Water Storage District, and Belridge Water Storage District for the construction, operation and maintenance of temporary pumping facilities to pump-back an estimated 50,000 acre-feet of critical water supplies to its upstream districts and landowners by reversing the flow in the California Aqueduct.
  • Agreement between Plumas County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the Department of Water Resources for additional State Water Project supply from Lake Davis for 2014 and 2015. The agreement took effect November 4, 2014 and terminates on December 31, 2015.
  • Agreement between Westlands Water District and the Department of Water Resources for introduction of up to 30,000 acre-feet of Westlands Water District's groundwater in the California Aqueduct. The agreement is effective from July 2, 2015, until October 31, 2015.

Background on Water Transfers

Voluntary water transfers from willing sellers to willing buyers enable water to flow where it is needed most. The Governor's drought declaration directs DWR and the Board to expedite the processing of water transfers, as called for in Executive Order B-21-13, which is available here: www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18048.

Information about water transfers that took place in 2012 and 2013 and a fact sheet about the management of water transfers are available at DWR's water transfer website here: www.water.ca.gov/watertransfers/

Urban and Agricultural Water Management Plans

The governor's drought declaration also called upon local urban water suppliers and municipalities to implement their local water shortage contingency plans immediately in order to avoid or forestall outright restrictions that could become necessary later in the drought season. Furthermore, the Governor directed local water agencies to update their legally-required Urban and Agricultural Water Management plans, which can help plan for extend drought conditions.

To learn which agricultural irrigation districts and urban water suppliers have submitted to DWR their water management plans, please visit the DWR Water Use Efficiency website at www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/.

Easing Exchanges of Water Between Federal and State Water Projects

Under the Governor's drought declaration, the Board must consider a petition for consolidation of places of use for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, which could streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users.

2014 Consolidation Place of Use Petition
On February 12, 2014, DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) jointly submitted such a petition to the SWRCB. The petition was approved by the SWRCB on March 28, 2014.

Here is a link to the Board's order: www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/transfers_tu_orders/docs/cpou_
transfer_order_2014.pdf

A press release about the petition is available here: www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/021314.pdf

The petition and related materials are available here: www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/petitions/transferpetitions.shtml

2015 Consolidation Place of Use Petition
On March 25, 2015, DWR and Reclamation jointly submitted such a petition to the SWRCB. The petition was approved by the SWRCB on April 27, 2015. DWR and Reclamation requested additional exchanges on May 11, 2015, May 18, 2015, and July 27, 2015, which were all approved by the SWRCB.

Here are links to the Board's order and approvals:
www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/transfers_tu_orders/
docs/17512tt150325_order_final.pdf

www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/transfers_tu_orders/
docs/cpou_approval_150511.pdf

www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/transfers_tu_orders/
docs/cpou_approval_150518.pdf

www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/transfers_tu_orders/
docs/cpou_approval_150730.pdf

Petitions and related materials are available here:
www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/applications/transfers_tu_notices/

The Turf and Toilet Rebate Program website is found here: aveOurWaterRebates.com