April 21, 2016
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – This week water loss totals for 2016 due to environmental requirements reached a staggering 1 million acre feet, enough water for more than 9 million Californians. Total water lost reached 1,049,000 acre-feet on April 17th and this number is likely to continue to grow. As California struggles to recover from record drought conditions, government-imposed pumping restrictions continue to force precious water to be flushed out to the ocean. Stormwater flows, snowpack melt, and flood control releases that could be captured, stored, and utilized for parched cities and farms continue to be wasted.
Meanwhile, residents, farms and businesses are being asked to cut back. Just a few weeks ago, the State Water Resources Control Board announced that California homes had reduced water consumption by nearly 25 percent over the last year and the Bureau of Reclamation announced that agricultural contractors south of the Delta would be receiving only 5 percent.
Federal water officials continue to limit pumping even as those restrictions have not proven to be effective, all while more water flows through the system. In the fifth year of this historic drought, enough water for 25 percent of Californians has been lost to the ocean due to these environmental regulations. The value of that water to California taxpayers is easily $500 million to over $1 billion.
“California’s water system is broken. We have lost a critical opportunity to capture water for California residents, businesses and farms,” Coalition spokesperson Michael Boccadoro stated, “Lawmakers and regulators should be implementing a series of actions including regulatory flexibility, improved conveyance and more storage. Instead, they have wasted enough water for a quarter of California’s residents just as the state is trying to recover from one of the state’s worst droughts.”