Friday, February 3, 2023

California cities warned to prepare for possible water shutdown ahead of fourth year of drought

Federal water managers warned California cities and industrial users receiving water from the Central Valley project on Monday to prepare for a fourth year of drought and possibly an “extremely limited water supply” through 2023.

The US Bureau of Reclamation, an Interior Department agency that oversees water resources management, said drought conditions in California persist despite storms earlier this month, and warned of imminent water conservation action.

“If drought conditions persist through 2023, reclamation will be difficult, if not impossible, to meet all of the Central Valley Project’s competing needs without implementing additional and more severe water conservation works,” the agency said in a statement. Will get tough fast.” ,

The agency said water storage is near record levels in the reservoirs it oversees in the state, which irrigate more than 3 million acres in central California and supply major urban centers in the Greater Sacramento areas and San Francisco Bay. . The project’s water provides supplies to approximately 2.5 million people per year.

Shasta Reservoir, California’s largest reservoir located about 200 miles north of the Bay Area, is currently at 31% capacity, the agency said.

California gets most of its water in the winter months when storms bring snow to the mountain ranges. But record temperatures and low rainfall have forced California and other states to grapple with a future with dwindling water supplies.

The megadrought in the western US has made the two decades the driest in the region in at least 1,200 years, and conditions are likely to persist for years. Researchers have estimated that 42% of drought severity is attributable to human-caused climate change.

Earlier this year, California water officials reduced state water project allocations from 15% to 5% of normal for water agencies serving an estimated 27 million people and 750,000 acres of California’s land.

The Office of Reclamation said it would announce initial water supply allocations for the Central Valley Project in February.

it is Article was originally published by Emma Neuberger

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