Shasta Lake’s water level is now half of its historical average. According to the US Bureau of Reclamation this year, the Central Valley Project water deliveries will only be available to senior water rights holders and some irrigation districts within the Eastern San Joaquin Valley.
“We anticipate that over 350,000 acres of farmland in the Sacramento Valley alone will be fellowed,” Mary Lee Knecht said to CNN. Knecht is the Bureau’s public affairs officer for California-Great Basin Region. It is larger than Los Angeles, to put it in perspective. “Cities or towns that receive [Central Valley Project]Water supply to Silicon Valley communities has been cut to meet safety and health requirements.
Gable stated that California’s communities will suffer from the drought this year. It’s only a matter of how much they suffer. “It’s often the most vulnerable communities that will suffer the greatest, so the Central Valley is a region in California with the majority of the state’s agricultural production and most of its energy development. Both of these are water-intensive industries.
Only 5% of water is required
Lake Oroville is the largest reservoir within California’s State Water Project system. This is separate from Central Valley Project which is operated by the California Department of Water Resources. It supplies water for 27 million Californians, and 750,000 acres farmland.
Although heavy storms towards the end 2021 reduced the lake’s record-low levels and allowed for the power plant to resume its operations, state water officials remain concerned about another grim situation this summer as the drought continues.
California Governor. Gavin Newsom stated at a news conference that April while visiting the Oroville Dam that the climate crisis is changing how water is delivered in the region.
Ryan Endean, spokesperson of the DWR, stated that Oroville’s low reservoir level is causing water agencies that rely on the state project to “only get 5% of their requested supplies by 2022.” “Water agencies are being urged by the DWR to impose mandatory water use restrictions to increase their supply throughout the summer and fall.
In concert with federal agencies and state agencies, the Bureau of Reclamation, the DWR and the DWR are taking unprecedented measures to save endangered winter-run Chinook salmon from drought. Reclamation officials are working to secure temporary chilling units that will cool the water at one their fish hatcheries.
Both reservoirs are vital parts of the state’s larger water network, which is interconnected by rivers and canals. Even if the smaller reservoirs have been replenished with winter precipitation, the plunged water levels in Shasta or Oroville could still affect the rest of the water network and drain it.
Folsom Lake’s water level was at a record 450 feet above the sea level this week. This is 108% more than its historical average at this time of year. However, because of the low water levels at Shasta and Oroville this week, Folsom Lake may have to release more water than normal this summer to compensate for the shortages in other reservoirs.
California’s snowpack is formed in the Sierra Nevada by winter precipitation and storms. This snowpack then melts gradually during spring and replenishes reservoirs.
Gable stated that California is entering a future where it will be hotter and dryer than ever before. Officials and residents must rethink how water is managed across the board. Otherwise, the state will remain unprepared.
Gable stated, “Water is supposed be a right of the human race.” “But we aren’t thinking that, and until that changes I think water scarcity will continue being a symptom the worsening global climate crisis.”