Water agencies in California responsible for serving 27 million residents have been notified that they will not be getting any of the water they requested in 2022 outside of what is needed and required for critical health and safety.
Receiving this notification in early December marks the earliest date that the Department of Water Resources has ever issued a zero percent water allocation. The startling milestone shows just how bad the conditions in California are, and how dire the drought is in the state. This year marks the second driest year for the state in its history.
California is not only the country’s most populous state, but it also has reservoirs that currently sit at historically low levels. This dangerous combination has been worrying state water officials for some time now. Officials warn that water restrictions may be brought in soon in order to conserve the precious resource. What exactly that will look like remains to be seen.
Irrigation, landscaping and gardening are among the activities and water-usage that will now be unable to have access to water supplies, the state has warned. And if it gets worse, California may have to usher in even more intense measures to conserve water, including fining people for not reducing their usage, and encouraging much shorter showers.
While the low allocation of water is unprecedented for the state, Californians do not have to fear losing their drinking or bathing water. State water officials say that despite the allocation, it’s just one source for the 29 state districts that it supplies. The Colorado River, and other local storage projects, are other sources.
So while the news seems very bleak, it won’t affect drinking water, and also won’t completely dry up the water supply.