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California Faces New Water Restrictions: State Drought Heightens

2021-12-03T01:06:45.479Z

Authorities warn that there could be another round of mandatory restrictions due to dire weather conditions that will continue until 2022.



By Alicia Victoria Lozano and The Associated Press -

NBC News

California water authorities warn that the state could face another round of mandatory water restrictions as some communities are preparing not to receive water allocations from the State Water Project except in emergencies.

This is a complex system of canals, reservoirs and dams that provide water to 27 million people.

It is the earliest date the Department of Water Resources has issued a 0% water allocation, a milestone that reflects the dire drought conditions in California, which continue to affect the most populous state in the country.

The reservoirs are at historically low levels.

"Despite a wet start to the water year, conditions have dried up since that first storm and we continue to anticipate a below-average water year," Karla Nemeth, director of the Department of Water Resources, said in a statement.

"That means we now have to prepare for a drier winter and

severe drought conditions that will continue until 2022."

A kayaker fishes on Lake Oroville.

Water levels remain low due to continued drought conditions in Oroville, California.Ethan Swope / AP

"If conditions remain this dry,

we will see mandatory cuts

," Nemeth added at a news conference on Wednesday.

In 2015, then-Governor Jerry Brown ordered the first mandatory restrictions across the state of California, saying at the time that "the historic drought calls for unprecedented action."

Those conservation efforts, which included an obligation to reduce water use by 25% with fines, ushered in a new era of drought-resistant gardens,

shorter showers

and a reduction in water-consuming appliances.

[Half a thousand people sheltered in shelters due to the floods in Washington state]

But as the drought subsided, so did California's mandatory restrictions.

Now, the Department of Water Resources said the state could see a return of some of those measures early next year.

"It will take a multi-pronged approach to successfully respond to these

unprecedented drought

conditions

," Nemeth said.

The State Water Project supplies water to 29 California districts, each with a maximum amount to order each year.

The allocations, which are adjusted in early winter and spring based on the amount of snow and precipitation in the state, represent the amount the state can provide based on available supplies.

After a severe drought, the West Coast is hit by torrential rains that wreak havoc

Oct. 25, 202101: 33

Last year, the second wettest in the state, allocations decreased from 10% in December to 5% in March.

The only other time since 1996 that

district allocations were denied

was in January 2014, during the last major drought.

Some parts of southern California, including northern Los Angeles and Ventura counties and the Inland Empire, are among the communities that will receive some water for health and safety reasons, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the state's largest customer supplying water to some 19 million people.

About a third of its supply comes from the state and the rest from the Colorado River and elsewhere.

In November a drought emergency was declared and water conservation was ordered.

Some of its member bodies depend almost exclusively on the state water supply.

[After the floods in Washington state, residents wonder: what will happen next?]

"The conditions of the State Water Project are unlike anything we have seen before," said Adel Hagekhalil, the agency's CEO, in a statement.

"While we certainly hope they will improve,

we must be prepared for the reality that the state project may not have water to allocate in 2022.

"

In October, California Governor Gavin Newsom expanded the drought emergency across the state, authorizing the state water board to

ban wasteful uses of water, such as using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways. 

This is what the maritime thaw and its consequences on the climate look like

Sept.

21, 202102: 29

Conditions have become so dry in California that even a fall deluge in northern parts of the state could not alleviate the drought.

In normal years, the Sierra Nevada's winter snowpack supplies about 30% of the state's water when the spring thaw hits, and the water trickles down to be captured in the state's reservoir system.

A study published in October revealed that

the snow cover could largely disappear within 25 years if global warming continues unchecked.

Previous studies have shown that rising temperatures due to the man-made climate crisis are reducing snow covers around the world and altering precipitation patterns.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2021-12-03

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