According to the State Water Contractors news release, California has been issued a court order to reduce its water supply by a third to protect endangered fish.
The statewide reduction of water is the largest reduction of water supply in California history. 27 public water companies in Northern, Central and Southern California are to comply with the court order that was issued to protect the Delta smelt, an endangered fish. The court order will effect farms, businesses and people in the California area.
Judge Oliver Wanger of the United States District Court is responsible for ordering the massive water reduction from California’s two largest water delivery systems which included the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. The amount issued to be cut back is approximately two million acre feet of water. The water reduction will be in effect until federal agencies devise a plan to ensure the safety of the Delta smelt as well as be in compliance with the Endangered Species Act.
All local water agencies will now have to rely on other sources of water as well as their emergency sources that include groundwater and storage supplies. With the local agencies having to rely on these sources, they are hoping that the impact does not directly effect their customers. By using these resources, agencies realize that if a major disaster was to hit, and 2007 being the driest year on record for certain parts of California, that their water reserve will be completely used up.
Those who will be immediately impacted by the water reduction will be the agricultural communities in the San Joaquin Valley, Inland Empire and San Diego, who will be forced to abandon their crop planting this coming winter and springs. Others impacted will be those in urban area who will need to conserve water during the reduction. The rest of those affected may have more restrictions like rationing as well as higher water costs.
Laura King Moon stated that “today’s ruling is an unprecedented cutback in our statewide water supply, forcing local water agencies to scramble to identify back up water sources and find ways to lessen direct impacts on their customers, never, in California’s history, have we had a court impose such a massive reduction in the water use – and it is not clear that even this extraordinary action will save the Delta smelt given all the other threats to its existence.” she also added that “The cutback considerably increases the chances of severe water use restrictions at the local level – water agencies can only rely on emergency or contingency sources for so long,”
The State Water Contractors are a non profit association that consist of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under the contract from the California State Water Project. All together, the State Water Contractors deliver water to over 25 million residents throughout California and over 750,000 acres of agriculture lands. To learn more about the State Water Contractors and the current water restrictions that are in effect as of the court ruling. Please visit their website at http://www.swc.org/
SOURCE : California Water Supply Cut by up to a Third To Protect Endangered Fish