The Governor’s declaration of a water emergency is trickling down to local levels. Dan Stork surveys the local impact of drastic measures by the state’s Department of Water Resources…
The California State Water Project (SWP) supplies water from the Feather River watershed and the Sacramento Delta water distribution area to 25,000,000 Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. As part of Governor Brown’s declaration of a drought emergency, the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) has cut the SWP allocations to the 29 water agencies to which it distributes water to zero. Some water agencies serving the MorongoBasin are indirectly, and several neighbors are directly affected.
The indirect local impact comes from the elimination of the Mojave Water Agency allocation, whose allocation request had been nearly 83,000 acre feet. The MWA wholesales water to Hi-Desert Water District, Joshua Basin Water District, and the Bighorn Desert View Water Agency, among others, to recharge overdrawn local aquifers.
Other affected water agencies in the region are Desert Water Agency (serving Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Desert Hot Springs), the Coachella Valley Water District (covering the rest of the Coachella Valley), the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (centered on Banning and Beaumont), the Crestline-Lake Arrowhead Water Agency, and the Metropolitan Water Agency (which dwarfs all the other SWP recipients, feeding to 26 cities and local districts, and would have taken over 72 percent of the Southern California allocation by itself.) A survey of the web sites of affected agencies shows them responding to the drought emergency by focusing on ongoing conservation efforts.