More water restrictions likely as California pledges to cut use of Colorado River supply
CALIFORNIA (Reuters) – California will likely tighten restrictions on its water supply from a major river because of drought-parched agriculture, a sign of how its farmers are seeking to cope with what’s become the worst drought in the state’s history.
FILE PHOTO: Men work on irrigation equipment on April 10, 2014 near the town of Tulare, Calif. The California Department of Water Resources said on Thursday the state had more than 1.4 million acre feet of water left in its reservoirs across the state and the amount was dropping fast. California has experienced one of its worst droughts on record and agriculture is seeing the effects in the state, home to about 12% of the U.S. population and about a quarter of its water consumption. REUTERS/Michael Short/File Photo
California’s agriculture, which consumes more than three-quarters of its water, has become the water source for more than half of the state’s economy and has been an important part of an epic drought that has brought severe crop failures in the Central Valley, in the state’s breadbasket.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) says it expects to shut off more than 900,000 acre feet of water from the state’s reservoirs at the end of September, and an additional 90,000 acre feet by the middle of October.
The water cuts come as the DWR takes the unusual step of putting its forecast of a drought-related water shortage to public vote, to help ensure that the state doesn’t overspend.
“We will not have any more water and there will be serious impacts on California’s economy,” said Mike Vidosich, chief executive of the DWR.
DWR did not say when the cuts would begin, but Vidosich said it would start this week with the largest cuts on Sept. 27 at a time of historically high river flows.
“We hope this is a very short term period of time,” he told reporters.
A drought-related water