Statement by the California Farm Water Coalition on Upcoming State Water Board Action That Will Cut Water Supplies to Thousands of Farms
“It is unbelievable that just two short years after our reservoirs were largely full, California is so water short that the State Water Resources Control Board is seriously considering completely eliminating water supplies for thousands of family farms throughout the Central Valley. Those families grow the safe, healthy food California families depend upon and these water supply cuts come right before the harvest season.
“Drought conditions are significant this year, however, we can’t ignore our state and federal leaders’ failure to meaningfully prepare for this drought. Science told us this pattern was inevitable, and those same experts insist it will become more frequent as a result of our changing climate.
“During California’s six-year drought, from 1987 to 1992, farm water allocations never fell below 25 percent. When the next drought came along, from 2012-2016, water supplies were cut to zero for more than a million acres of farmland, starting in just the second year of a five-year drought.
“Our water system is so stressed that the State Water Resources Control Board’s upcoming action on August 3 could completely eliminate surface water supplies for farms in much of the state.
“Drought years like this reveal the weaknesses in our water supply system. California’s climate is now punctuated by wetter wet years and drier dry ones. We’ve known for years that we need to increase our ability to capture water during the wet years so it is available when dry years return, as well as increase recycling, fix our aging infrastructure and provide for habitat restoration.
“Immediate federal and State infrastructure investments are needed to stop California’s continued spiral into perennial water shortages and situations that force Californians to choose water winners and losers.”