California is experiencing the worst water crisis in our modern history. The precipitation and snowpack deficit resulting in reduced availability of surface and groundwater, from four years of drought are huge. Reservoirs are at very low levels and rivers have severely diminished flows. Even if El Niño conditions bring heavy precipitation and possible flooding in some parts of the state, California’s drought will not likely end this year. The drought has been sufficiently severe that we face extreme water scarcity for an uncertain amount of time. As a result of the crisis,Governor Brown proclaimed a state of emergency in January, 2014 and called on all Californians to reduce their water consumption by 20%. As the drought continued and worsened, on April 1, 2015, Governor Brown took the unprecedented action of directing the State Water Resources Control Board to implement urban water use reductions of 25% statewide. The Governor's November 2015 Executive Order calls for additional actions to build on the state’s ongoing response to record dry conditions.
Californians pull together in times of crisis. Local governments and agencies around the state have already taken action by requesting or requiring conservation, declaring emergencies, and identifying and implementing projects to increase resiliency in water management. Most communities have already begun coordinating with their neighbors, the state and federal government.
OPR Drought Clearinghouse Contact
For more information about state resources available for drought-related issues:
On January 27, 2014, the Secretaries for the California Natural Resources Agency, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Food and Agriculture released the Water Action Plan (Plan). The Plan describes the actions that the Administration will be undertaking over the next five years to provide a more reliable water supply for farms and communities, restore important wildlife habitat and species, and help the state’s water systems and environment become more resilient. The Plan’s call for actions to expand water storage capacity and improve groundwater management will not be effective unless local efforts to manage groundwater basins to reverse alarming declines in groundwater levels are taken. This will not happen unless local and regional agencies have the necessary support and authorities to manage groundwater sustainably. This season’s record breaking low rainfall levels will severely tax our already depleted groundwater basins and the Brown Administration is committed to taking action during this Legislative session to avoid a similar situation in the future.
More information can be found at California Groundwater .