Breaking News
More () »

Continued dry conditions in California prompt early warning for water supply

State and Federal water agencies are notifying water right holders there may be reduced supply this spring and summer.
Credit: KXTV

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Department of Water Resources and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation notified the more than 40,000 water rights holders there may be less water to go around this upcoming spring and summer.

Water usage varies from agriculture to urban customers and primarily is surface water found in reservoirs and the extensive river, canal and aqueduct system. Based on reservoir levels and early snowpack results these agencies forecasted in December 2020, they believed they would have been able to supply 10% of the requested water for a variety of uses based on each water right holder. 

The new notifications now estimate 5% of water requested will be available, but a final number is not expected until May. The lack of rain and snow is prompting the potential reductions. 

The reduction of water available is based on the second year of very dry conditions throughout the state. La Nina conditions have kept Southern California very dry so far this season, but Northern California is deep in the red for rain and snowpack this year.  

One of the biggest reservoirs in the California water project system, Lake Oroville, is only at 53% of average. The biggest reservoir in the state, Lake Shasta, is run by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation and is only at 66% of average. 

With less water available through more cost-effective federal and state supplies, water customers like farms and cities may be more reliant on groundwater and water for sale on the open market which may be more expensive if it's available.

Water conservation efforts will likely be requested for all customers if projections remain dry.

Watch more from ABC10:

Did the pandemic improve the world's air quality?

Before You Leave, Check This Out