Tag Archive for: mandatory cutbacks

Opinion: California’s Water Shortage Requires Updates in Technology, Law — and Mindset

Californians responded to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for voluntary water conservation earlier this year by using more, not less. On Monday, Newsom said mandatory cutbacks could be coming.

Already, residents face sharp new outdoor water restrictions June 1, and serious doubts over whether those limits will be enough to cope with a historic water shortage.

Opinion: Why San Diego County Should Be Spared Mandatory California Water Cutbacks

Mandatory water cutbacks sure seem inevitable, even imminent, in California, by the numbers, by the images of emptying reservoirs, by the arc of history.

California just had its hottest summer on record, tying the 1936 Dust Bowl summer with average temperatures 2.6 degrees above normal. California also just had its second driest water year on record and worst since 1924, with just 11.87 inches of rain and snow statewide, about half the average. And California is in its second-worst year ever for wildfire damage, with nearly 2.5 million acres burned as of this month. The only worse year for that? 2020.

With First-Ever Colorado River Shortage Almost Certain, States Stare Down Mandatory Cutbacks

The Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs are likely to drop to historically low levels later this year, prompting mandatory conservation by some of the river’s heaviest users.

The latest Bureau of Reclamation reservoir projections, which take into account river flows in a given year, show a likelihood that Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada stateline will dip below the critical threshold of 1,075 feet in elevation in May and remain below that level for the foreseeable future.

A first-ever official shortage declaration from the Department of the Interior is almost certain later this year. According to the terms of a 2007 agreement, a shortage is declared by the Interior Secretary after consulting with water users in the Lower Basin states of California, Arizona and Nevada. An August report is used to forecast when Lake Mead will be below 1,075 feet at the start of a calendar year.