California is experiencing serious water shortages due to widespread drought. (See Figure 1.) The state is served by two large water infrastructure projects that store water for future use—the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP). Both projects have had to reduce water deliveries in 2014 to the farmers and communities they serve. Many water users have received no water from the CVP and SWP this year and are supplementing surface water supplies with groundwater, leading to concerns that local aquifers are being depleted. The dry hydrological conditions, in combination with regulatory restrictions on water being pumped from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta confluence with the San Francisco Bay (Bay-Delta) to protect water quality and fish and wildlife, have resulted in water supply cutbacks for CVP and SWP water users throughout their respective service areas and historic cutbacks to senior water rights in some areas. The effects are widespread and are being felt by many economic sectors, including agriculture, urban areas, and fish and wildlife resources. Water supply reductions and disagreements over the causes and need for them are at the heart of legislation in the 113th Congress aimed at maximizing CVP and SWP operations.
Date of Report: December 5, 2014
Order Number: IF10019
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