Author: Carol

California’s state water agencies could face shortages in future years

California’s state water agencies could face shortages in future years

Nearly 20% of California water agencies could see shortages if drought persists, state report shows

SACRAMENTO – California’s state water agencies are likely to get less than the current allocation of water needed during normal years, according to a state water planning study released Thursday that shows about 20% of water agencies could face shortages in future years if conditions continue to worsen.

The new figures, drawn from regional plans submitted to the California Water Resources Control Board in response to a 2016 state law, are based on current water use and estimates of water rights and infrastructure use. They do not take into account changes in demand or water rights from the last 20 years, according to the report.

State water officials have said repeatedly they have no plans to drastically lower water allocations, which are needed to maintain a healthy water supply to support agriculture, drinking water supplies and recreational activities.

However, during drought, the agency that supplies water to agricultural interests has seen its share of the water drop from about 20% to 16%, according to an agency report in 2012. State officials said then they were making “every effort” to try and maintain the allocations, which include the use of water in drought years to prevent a complete water supply shortage.

A drought and lack of water supplies could leave farmers unable to plant crops year-round or even plant during the summer, which is already a lean, hot time in many areas of the state.

“I don’t want to give them (farmers) false hope that they can get through a drought and be able to grow as much as they want,” said Paul Bowers, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments.

The report looked at the water agency plans submitted to the California Water Board during two periods: 2009 and 2014. It shows state agencies’ plans “reflect an ongoing process of adaptive management for the water supply.” For example, some agencies are planning for a drought scenario “similar to the late 1980s and early 1990s drought,” while others are “actively preparing for future possible droughts,

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