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Final 2016 Drought Contingency Plan Released

January 19, 2016

The California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have finalized the 2016 Drought Contingency Plan that outlines State Water Project and Central Valley Project operations for February-November 2016. The plan was developed in coordination with staff from State and federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWB). It focuses on water project operations as related to SWB Water Rights Decision-1641 and the potential modification requests needed to balance the competing needs and benefits of our limited water supplies in the context of consecutive dry years. One of the key purposes of this plan is to communicate overarching goals for 2016 water management and the potential operations needed to achieve those goals for water resources stakeholders and the public.

Download the 2016 Drought Contingency Plan.

Draft 2016 Drought Contingency Plan Released

December 18, 2015

On December 10, 2015, the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation completed a final draft 2016 Drought Contingency Plan that outlines potential State Water Project and Central Valley Project operations. The draft 2016 Drought Contingency Plan is composed of two parts:

  • Part I focuses on the December 2015 through January 2016 timeframe and Part II focuses on February through November 2016.
  • Part II will be further developed in January after updated hydrologic forecasts are available, and must be submitted by January 15, 2016, to the State Water Resource Control Board (SWB).

Both parts of the plan were developed in coordination with staff from State and federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the SWB. The scope of both Part I and Part II focuses on water project operations as related to SWB Water Rights Decision-1641 and the potential modification requests necessary in order to balance the competing needs and benefits of our limited water supplies in the context of consecutive dry years. One of the key purposes of this plan is to communicate overarching goals for 2016 water management and the potential operations needed to achieve those goals for water resources stakeholders and the public.

Download the draft report.

Emergency Drought Barrier Removed from Delta

November 16, 2015

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has completed dismantling an emergency drought barrier that spanned West False River between Jersey and Bradford islands. The barrier was erected in May and June to prevent saltwater from pushing with the tides into the central Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from San Francisco Bay.

The barrier was an essential part of DWR’s strategy to maintain good water quality in the Delta, which provides water to 25 million Californians, including residents of the Delta and Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties. DWR’s State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project convey Delta water through their aqueducts to distant parts of the state.

More information about the barrier removal project is available on the Emergency Drought Barriers webpage.

New Site Provides Data on Household Water Shortages

August 21, 2015

As the drought developed, local and state agencies started receiving anecdotal reports of household water shortages; however, there was no means to record or track these reports. In early 2014, the Governor’s Drought Task Force created a “Less than 15 Connections Work Group” (Work Group). This cross-agency Work Group agreed that an easily accessed system was needed to develop a more systematic understanding of which parts of the state had households at risk and to improve cross-agency response and coordination.

With the help of the Work Group, the Department of Water Resources has created a new system that improves and streamlines data collection and reporting for household water shortages for water systems with fewer than 15 household connections. The Household Water Supply Shortage Reporting System’s webpage provides summary tables, a map, and more information about the program.

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