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California Farmers Preparing for State Water Curtailment Orders

Farmers up and down California are once again facing an uncertain season ahead of them as a state water curtailment order issued in August 2021 continues to take its toll on farming and ranching families.

In July 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order calling a drought emergency and asking for water conservation. Soon after, farmers and ranchers in California received curtailment orders from the California Water Board (CWB) to either immediately or prepare to suspend their senior water rights.

Marin Grand Jury Report Blasts Water Supply Planning

The Marin Municipal Water District has failed to adequately prepare for severe drought and should create a four-year water supply, the Marin civil grand jury said in a new report.

Last year, the district faced depleting local reservoir supplies as soon as summer 2022. While rains in late 2021 nearly refilled reservoirs, the drought “exposed serious shortcomings” in the district’s ability to offer a reliable water supply and has shaken public confidence in the district’s leadership, the report states.

California Seeks to Rein in Water Usage by Closing a Nearly 2-Month Gap in Getting Data From Suppliers

In response to prolonged drought across the West and ahead of the scorching summer months, California is asking its urban water suppliers to voluntarily report water consumption data sooner — so the state can better assess whether its water conservation goals are being met.

Years of low rainfall and snowpack coupled with more intense heat waves have fueled the state’s historic, multiyear drought conditions, rapidly draining its reservoirs.

In This SF Bay Area County, You Can Rat on Water Wasters Who May Face Fines Up to $10,000

It’s a sign the drought is worsening: One of the largest water districts in the San Francisco Bay Area became the first in the state on Wednesday to introduce a program to fine water wasters who ignore repeated warnings.

Santa Clara Valley Water customers could face fines, as little as $100 and as high as $10,000 in the most extreme cases, for not following rules aimed at reducing outdoor water use.

Outdoor Watering Restrictions Cause Panic

Property owners in the Santa Monica Mountains and nearby communities worried about the upcoming mandate severely restricting outdoor water usage were given answers and tips on how to comply at a town hall organized by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD). Legitimate concerns about brown lawns and brush dry hillsides in fire-prone areas prompted more than 1,000 homeowners to attend LVMWDs virtual meeting May 11.

Farmers Across State Face New Water Cuts, California Farm Bureau Reports

With 60% of the state now in extreme drought conditions, state officials are warning water-right holders that they should expect more curtailments during peak irrigation season in June and July.

In a statement last week, the state Division of Water Rights said “curtailments are expected to increase progressively through the spring and summer and continue through the early fall until significant precipitation occurs.”

Gov. Cox Issues State of Emergency Due to Drought

Gov. Spencer Cox issued a drought state of emergency effective immediately.

The governor made the announcement at his monthly press conference.

“We’ve had a very volatile water year, and unfortunately, recent spring storms are not enough to make up the shortage in our snowpack,” Cox said in a media release. “Once again, I call on all Utahns – households, farmers, businesses, governments and other groups – to carefully consider their needs and reduce their water use. We saved billions of gallons last year and we can do it again.”

Santa Clara Valley Water District Limits Outdoor Watering to Twice Weekly as Drought Deepens

The South Bay’s largest water provider is limiting when and how often people can water their yards as Santa Clara County faces the effects of a deepening drought.

“People spent so much money on their landscape they want to maintain it. Especially in town here. There’s a lot of wealth in Palo Alto. And they don’t want to see their yards go dry,” said Steve Crosariol, who works in Palo Alto and lives in Cupertino.

Lawn Watering Crackdown Coming to Santa Clara County as Drought Worsens?

Concerned about diminishing water supplies this summer and a failure of the public to hit conservation targets, Santa Clara County’s largest water agency is moving forward with plans to ask the county’s 2 million residents to water landscaping no more than two days a week, down from the current three days.

Last June, the Santa Clara Valley Water District declared a drought emergency and asked the public to cut water use 15% compared to 2019 levels. But in February, amid record-dry conditions, South Bay residents ignored that request, cranking up sprinklers and increasing water use countywide by 23%.

Rainfall Totals Above Normal but Dry Spell Has Water Districts Preparing for Drought

The total rain collected as of February is still above normal, according to East Bay Municipal Utility District, but the recent dry spell in 2022 contrasts sharply with the wet months late last year and leaves the potential for a drought emergency uncertain.

“We’re not seeing an erasure of what occurred but it is worrisome,” said Andrea Pook, a spokesperson for East Bay MUD. “We do still need to wait and see what we get for the rest of February and into March.”

As of this week, East Bay MUD says it has 30 inches of rain, which is 108 percent of normal for this time of year. It’s also more rain that we had last year. Reservoirs are 68 percent full. These numbers are improvements from data reported by the agency in December.