California drought: State says water won't be available to agencies serving millions

SAN FRANCISCO - Amid California's drought, state officials have announced they won't be able to provide water to agencies serving 25 million people and nearly 1 million acres of farmland.
 
Friday's announcement marks the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project that such action has been taken.
 
State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin says there simply is not enough water in the system now. He says the action was taken to conserve water in the state's reservoirs, which are far below normal levels.
 
Most of the towns and farms that draw from the State Water Project have other sources of water. But those also are limited because of the dry conditions -- this is the driest California has been since 1884.

San Diego is one of the cities that has been shut off from the Northern California water supply because of the extreme drought.

"Simply put, there is not enough water to go around, so we need to conserve," said Mark Cowin of the California Department of Water Resources.

The San Diego County Water Authority told 10News they have been preparing for these situations for 20 years.

The Authority says the county has enough water for 2014 due to large storage reserves in Southern California. They issued the following statement to 10News about the shut-off: "It's not a final allocation, and late winter storms could ultimately lead to an increase in deliveries."

But if zero percent allocations stay in place that would mean "that Southern California will have to draw nearly 100,000 acre-feet of additional water from storage this year to meet demands, leaving less water available if dry conditions were to continue into 2015."

They have not said if water rates would go up here, but Aubrey Bettencourt of the California Water Alliance told 10News the county will be affected in some way.

"Unfortunately, this is a statewide problem and the effects that happen all over the state are going to start to have repercussions here," said Bettencourt.

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