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The governor on January 17, 2014 proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to make water immediately available. On April 25, 2014, the governor issued an executive order to speed up actions necessary to reduce harmful effects of the drought, and he called on all Californians to redouble their efforts to conserve water.

The January 17, 2014 emergency proclamation is available at http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18368


Key measures in the proclamation include:

  • asking all Californians to reduce water consumption by 20 percent and referring residents and water agencies to the Save Our Water campaign - www.saveourh2o.org - for practical advice on how to do so;
  • directing local water suppliers to immediately implement local water shortage contingency plans;
  • ordering the State Water Resources Control Board (state water 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 the California Department of Water Resources and the state board to accelerate funding for projects that could break ground this year and enhance water supplies;
  • ordering the state water 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;
  • and asking the state water 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 requires the California Department of Water Resources 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:

  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 Agency, 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.
  • 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.

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 State Water Resources Control Board to expedite the processing of water transfers, as called for in Executive Order B-21-13, which is available here: http://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: http://www.water.ca.gov/watertransfers/


Urban and Agricultural Water Management Plans

The governor’s drought declaration also calls 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.

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 http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/.


Easing Exchanges of Water Between Federal and State Water Projects

Under the governor’s drought declaration, the State Water Resources Control 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.

On February 12, 2014, DWR and the U.S. Bureau of 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: http://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: http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/021314.pdf

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