Monday, June 15, 2015

Drought-plagued California orders some of state's oldest water rights holders to stop pumping water

The California drought has gotten so bad that "for the first time in nearly 40 years, state regulators are telling more than 100 growers and irrigation districts with some of the oldest water rights in California that they have to stop drawing supplies from drought-starved rivers and streams in the Central Valley," Bettina Boxall reports for the Los Angeles Times.

"The curtailment order, issued Friday by the State Water Resources Control Board, has been expected for weeks," Boxall writes. "Earlier this spring, the board halted diversions under some 8,700 junior rights. With snowmelt reduced to a trickle this year, there simply isn't enough water flowing in rivers to meet the demand of all those with even older rights predating 1914."

Many growers "have water in storage that they can continue to use," Boxall writes. "Utilities can keep using flows for hydropower production as long as the water is returned to the rivers. Some growers and ranchers also have groundwater supplies that are unaffected by the order." (Read more)

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