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Top Four Myths of the California Drought

Thursday, Apr 23rd, 2015

One of the unfortunate byproducts of the current drought are the myths circulating regarding water use and the means for addressing the water crisis in the state.  Some are perpetuations of myths developed during past water crises.  Others build upon misinformation that has a more recent origin.  Below are four myths that you may see in media accounts of the drought. 1) Agriculture uses 80 percent of water in the state. According to the 2013 California Water Plan, in an average water year, agriculture uses 41 percent of the applied water in California (California Water Plan 2013, Volume 1, page 3-35).  Urban water uses total 10 percent and various environmental uses total 49 percent of applied water in the state. But, if we are truly talking about the “water in the state,” according to the Water Plan, “California, in an average …

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State, Federal Agencies and Sacramento River Settlement Contractors Agree on Framework for Water Operations in Fourth Year of Drought

Tuesday, Apr 21st, 2015

State, Federal Agencies and Sacramento River Settlement Contractors Agree on Framework for Water Operations in Fourth Year of Drought
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Federal and state agencies along with Sacramento River Settlement Contractors (SRSCs) agreed this week on an integrated framework of actions for Central Valley Project/State Water Project operations for mid-April through November. The actions will flexibly manage and operate the system to serve multiple beneficial purposes that include water for cities and rural communities, farms, fish and wildlife and their habitats in the Sacramento Valley. The suite of actions will also help provide water for areas of the state that are in dire need of additional water supplies.

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Managing Water in the Sacramento Valley for Multiple Benefits in 2015

Friday, Apr 17th, 2015

With California enduring its fourth consecutive dry year, every drop of water counts and must be stretched as far as possible. In the Sacramento Valley, water resources managers have been working closely with state and federal agencies and our conservation partners to stretch available supplies in creative ways to benefit multiple uses. Water supplies in the Sacramento Valley have all been reduced significantly this year due to the fourth consecutive year of scant rainfall and snowpack in the state, although the December and February storms in Northern California have led to storage in certain reservoirs that is higher than 2014. Throughout the Sacramento Valley, it is important during this dry year that water will be used for multiple purposes, including cities and rural communities, farms, fish, birds and recreation.

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New Information on Water Use in California and the Sacramento Valley

Friday, Apr 10th, 2015

The new edition of the California Water Plan (Bulletin 160-13) was recently finalized by the California Department of Water Resources. Interestingly, the new edition determined that in an average water year agriculture used 200,000 acre-feet less than previously thought. While this does not change the overall percentages of water use in the state, it is important to note that agricultural water use during an average water year is 41 percent of applied water. This is important factual information amidst all the media coverage of the California drought, much of which has erroneously reported this information.

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