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

May 7--Californa Urges Voluntary Water Conservation

With California's snowpack at a dismal 29 percent of normal levels after a May 1 survey by the state Department of Water Resources, officials are urging the public to voluntarily conserve water or risk rationing.

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May 7, 2007 -- Dry spell and low snowpack levels spark rationing anxiety.

With California's snowpack at a dismal 29 percent of normal levels after a May 1 survey by the state Department of Water Resources, officials are urging the public to voluntarily conserve water or risk rationing.

There is enough water captured from the previous two winter seasons for the current year, but the state DWR warned that if waterless winters persist and snow levels keep diminishing, water shortages may loom as soon as next year.

"If next year is dry, and so is the year after that, then we could get into serious supply problems," said the DWR's Ted Thomas. "We are strongly recommending conservation measures as a precaution against another dry year next year."

The department is also backing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial plan to construct two new dams along the San Joaquin River outside of Fresno, Calif. and in Colusa County, Calif. to increase the state's water-storage capacity in order to meet the state's growing supply needs. Anticipated to cost $2 billion each, opponents of the proposal argue the structures are too costly and are environmentally unsound.

Local municipal utility districts in California - largely responsible for supplying water to the state - are becoming increasingly uneasy over the past winter season, which experts consider to be the driest since 1988.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is asking its 2.4 million customers to curb water usage by at least 10 percent, and across the bay, the East Bay Municipal Utility District is asking its customers to fix plumbing leaks to conserve water.

In Santa Cruz, Calif., residents have been instructed to avoid watering lawns between peak water-use hours - 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The district normally receives 150,000 acre-feet of water from its reservoir located in Clearlake, Calif., but because of the lack of rainfall during the past winter, the supply has dropped to 85,000 acre-feet. Water stored in the Indian Valley reservoir is expected to make up for the shortage, which should head off rationing this year.

Extended drought periods affect ground water levels because we get minimal recharge during the drought periods


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