More water restrictions likely as California pledges to cut use of Colorado River supply
State officials and environmental experts say the need to restrict water use will increase as California’s drought continues. The California Department of Water Resources is expected to announce Friday that it will issue an emergency order banning water use statewide in an effort to save water and help boost agriculture.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office and the department’s Board of Water Resources released a statement Friday morning saying they will announce a major water restriction package, which could include temporary reductions in some areas with the goal of boosting water efficiency and raising its supply.
The announcement is expected to come before a meeting of the board on Friday afternoon.
The statement from the state also said that state officials, at the request of Brown’s office, will meet with a delegation of U.S. water experts to discuss their findings of how to manage water in California.
At a news conference on Thursday, Brown said during an appearance at the state Capitol that the state would do “whatever it takes” to save water for farms and other users.
He said in an interview just before the announcement that he wanted growers to know that “a lot of water isn’t getting to them any more.”
The statement from the governor’s office said water conservation can help farmers meet the California water needs and boost agriculture’s future.
In 2011, California met its water use level for the first time in 16 years, when it reduced its water use by 22%, the lowest level in 17 years. The state took several actions after that, including restrictions in several water-intensive industries, such as wine and fruit and vegetable production, which had a huge impact on the water use rate.
But the water use rate for agriculture dropped sharply during that time, said Brown’s spokesman, Jesse, S. Moniz.
“Soil moisture management and water use management were always two major parts of the solution,” Moniz said.
Soil moisture management, which involves managing the amount of water in the soil through changes in the crop rotation and irrigation rates, is a big part of agriculture in California. Moniz said there would be a discussion about soil moisture management on Friday.
And the water drought has