Volume 6, Issue 2
As California continues to struggle with the ongoing drought, environmental restrictions are making the situation worse by limiting the ability of water users to move what little water the state received in December to areas south of the Delta where it needs to be. Pumping curtailments on the State Water Project and Central Valley Project kicked in on December 15 and have cost water users more than 300,000 acre-feet of water so far. That is enough water to serve the needs of more than 2.5 million residents or 100,000 acres of farmland.
Entering the fourth consecutive year of drought, it is more important than ever that regulators are managing our increasingly limited water supplies in the most effective manner possible. Regulators must be held accountable to ensure these pumping restrictions are scientifically-based, necessary and actually help to protect fish and wildlife. Recent fish surveys have shown little to no benefit to species populations resulting from reduced pumping levels. Equally important, the costly and untimely restrictions further underscore the critical need to shore up the state’s broken water conveyance system and invest in additional storage.