By Andrew Freedman
The California drought, now reaching into its 13th month, grows more devastating with each passing day and there is no sign of significant relief in sight.
More than halfway through the state’s wet season and the Sierra Nevada snowcap all but non-existent, California’s prospects for making up its precipitation deficit are slim. The snowcap will yield precious little water and the state would need to get an average of about a foot or more of rain in the next two months to make up the difference. Forecasts are not offering much hope of that.
The California drought reached another grim milestone on Friday when the state announced that for the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project it may not be able to allocate water to the nearly 25 million Californians who depend on the vast system of dams and reservoirs for supplemental water supplies. The Department of Water Resources also said it planned to reduce allocations to farmland by 50%, the maximum extent allowable by law.
The State Water Project provides supplemental water to two-thirds of the state’s population and about 750,000 acres of farmland, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
“If we are to have any hope of coping with continued dry weather and balancing multiple needs, we must act now to preserve what water remains in our reservoirs,” Mark Cowin, Department of Water Resources director, said in a press release. Officials said the communities that depend in part on the State Water Project’s water also have other sources, so the potential for a zero allocation does not mean that taps will run dry.