More water restrictions likely as California pledges to cut use of Colorado River supply
State officials at the California Department of Water Resources voted Thursday to reduce water use and restore flow to Lake Shasta on a series of short-term options.
The California Water Summit was held in Sacramento with statewide representatives and water experts, among them the Department of Water Resources CEO William Hart.
“In the face of this dry winter and low snow pack, we are working diligently to do everything we can to protect and provide water for our state of California,” Hart said.
He added that the next steps in drought recovery will “take more time.”
The governor has already set a target of cutting the state’s water use to the minimum level required to maintain a healthy water supply to the Delta River in San Francisco Bay.
“We are going to take advantage of this wet winter that’s available,” Hart said.
Water officials from throughout California have been working with state and regional officials to implement the steps required by the decision, which must be approved by the state Board of Water (BOW).
“We are here to make some tough decisions and to take this important step,” Hart said.
“This decision is really to make sure we continue to take the right steps in the right times.”
Under the short-term water plan, water officials are seeking to reduce water use by reducing the amount of water delivered to consumers by 20% starting May 1.
In the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) Lake Shasta basin, water deliveries are currently at 30,000 acre feet (AGF) a day, while in the Merced County agricultural water district, which includes the Lake Shasta basin, the deliveries are at 35,000 AGF a day.
The reduction in deliveries to the SMUD and agricultural water district is expected to be implemented through May 31, 2014.
The Merced County agricultural water district will be required to reduce the amount of water it delivers to the Merced River to 30,000 AGF a day.
The reduction in supplies to the SMUD will begin July 1