California’s urban water users and farmers who rely on supplies from state reservoirs will get less than planned this year as fears of a third consecutive dry year become reality, state officials announced.
Water agencies that serve 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland, will get just 5% of what they’ve requested this year from state supplies beyond what’s needed for critical activities such as drinking and bathing.
That’s down from the 15% allocation state officials had announced in January, after a wet December fueled hopes of a lessening drought.
But a wet winter didn’t materialize and unless several more inches of rain falls this month, the January-March period will be the driest start to a California year at least a century. That’s when most of the state’s rain and snow typically falls.
Mandatory restrictions on using water for outdoor activities like landscaping and other purposes may come from local water agencies as they continue to grapple with limited supplies, said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources.