“Phillips [Lynn Phillips, general manager of the Sutter Extension Water District], like most water managers and farmers, is unsure about his water supply for 2014. Phillips is anticipating a 50 percent cut — the maximum possible — in the district’s water delivery from Lake Oroville, which irrigates about 20,000 acres.”
“The Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins are experiencing the steepest drop in water storage in nearly a decade. A new study looked at all water storage in the basins, including snow, surface water, soil moisture and groundwater.”
“In this small logging town in Northern California’s redwood country, small blue signs urging water conservation are almost everywhere you look.
“Just south of Willits, in one of the state’s most verdant corners, crows and other birds peck at dry ground that should be covered in water at the city’s Centennial Reservoir, which is less than a third full.”
“On Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board announced a curtailment of all post-1914 water rights holders, which will affect about 500 water contracts in Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties.
“Now, as water managers wait for those curtailment notices to arrive, the Bureau of Reclamation and other federal partners will announce additional responses to the drought at a press conference today in Sacramento.”
“For the first time in its 54-year history, the State Water Project, a backbone of California’s water system, will provide no water to urban residents or farmers this year because of the severe drought, state officials said Friday.”
“Facing the driest year on record, state authorities Friday issued emergency orders to save California from running dry this summer, including a temporary halt to Northern California water exports to San Joaquin Valley farming.”
“State officials announced Friday that 29 water agencies serving 25 million people across California can expect “zero” water deliveries from the State Water Project this summer because of the worsening drought.”
“Water exported south from the Delta will drop to a relative trickle, and flows through the estuary toward the ocean will remain low under drastic – in some cases unprecedented – actions announced Friday.”
“Officials Friday said that for the first time ever, the State Water Project that helps supply a majority of Californians may be unable to make any deliveries except to maintain public health and safety.
“The prospect of no deliveries from one of the state’s key water systems underscores the depth of a drought that threatens to be the worst in California’s modern history.”
“At 12% of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren.
“Valley state Sens. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, and Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, announced Thursday new legislation to put a water bond on the November ballot in an effort to improve California’s water system.”
“Then something bigger happened: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor said that 340,000 acre-feet of water stored at San Luis Reservoir on behalf of west-side farmers would be released to them for use during the growing season.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Betty Jo Toccoli:
“After members of our [California Small Business Association] board of directors and I visited some of the state water system’s key facilities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – the heart of the state’s ongoing water crisis – we came away with a much better understanding of the need for long-term solutions.”
“With the state extremely dry, the farmers fear federal officials could effectively seize for other purposes the water set aside primarily in San Luis Reservoir on the valley’s west side. Affected farmers say that would be wrong. Unfortunately for them, it might also be legal.”
“Cachuma Lake, the source of drinking water for 200,000 people on the southern coast of Santa Barbara County, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is disappearing. It is becoming a startling emblem of California’s debilitating drought, with little hope that conditions will improve any time soon.”