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Home > Natural Resources > Water Strategies to Preserve Natural Resource Supplies and Quality

Southern California Water Supply is Threatened

California's dryest year on pumping shutdown indicate the importance of water conservation.

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California is facing an imminent drought. According to this news article, the result is far reaching and the solution appears to be immediate conservation on everyone's part. Threats are coming from not only the lack of rainfall this year -- which is stacking up to be the driest year on record -- but court actions based on water rights issues. Read the news here...

Threat to key water supply reaffirmed
A judge's order over fish killed during pumping could halt the flow from the Bay Area delta to the Southland. A state official vows an appeal.
By Bettina Boxall, LA Times Staff Writer
April 19, 2007

A Superior Court judge has refused to back down from a ruling that in two months could virtually shut down the State Water Project, stopping the flow of Northern California water to Central Valley farms and 17 million Southern Californians.

Over the objections of water officials, Alameda County Judge Frank Roesch this week reasserted a preliminary March ruling in which he found that the California Department of Water Resources had not obtained the proper state environmental permits to operate the huge pumps that siphon water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, in the process killing threatened and endangered fish.

The judge has given the department 60 days from the issuance of his final order to comply with the California Endangered Species Act, or he will turn off the pumps.

Water officials have warned that a prolonged pumping shutdown would wreak havoc on the California economy and slash water deliveries to urban Southern California at a time when the region is experiencing what is on track to be the driest year on record.

The escalating conflict between delta water deliveries and environmental protection is spurring a reexamination of whether the state should continue to use the sprawling delta northeast of San Francisco as the hub of its giant plumbing system or find some other ways of ferrying water between north and south.

In the past the pumping has been briefly stopped, and water deliveries have also been reduced, to protect fish. But the possibility of a longer shutdown is sending ripples of anxiety throughout the State Water Project, which supplies about two out of three Californians, as well as irrigation water for 750,000 acres of farm land.

Southern California water officials have said they have enough water in storage to avoid immediate rationing.

But in court declarations, managers for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California warned that a shutdown of more than a year would empty their reservoirs, halt groundwater recharge programs and ultimately force mandatory rationing in the region.

... state officials have said that permit process could take as long as 18 months.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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