by Katy Grimes, E&E Legal Senior Media Fellow and California Globe Editor
As Appearing in the California Globe
California reservoirs were designed to provide a steady five year supply for all users, and were filled to the top in June 2019
One year ago, May 21, 2021, the Globe reported “Facing Dry Year, CA State Water Board is Draining California Reservoirs.” And that was before the disastrous fires last year.
It is 2022 and California’s reservoirs are still being drained by state officials, and we are still facing a tough fire season.
California reservoirs were designed to provide a steady five year supply for all users, and were filled to the top in June 2019. We had 5-7 years of water in those reservoirs had the state not drained them, even in the face of a drought.
Putting a relatable number on the crisis, Central Valley farmer Kristi Diener said: “In the last 14 days, 90% of Delta inflow went to sea. It’s equal to a year’s supply of water for 1 million people. #ManMadeDrought.”
Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that unless California residents didn’t cut 15% of home/business water use, the state “could be forced to enact mandatory restrictions.”
As we Tweeted, “Says the governor who knows but ignores that urban water use in CA is less than 10%. We can’t conserve our way out of a drought until the 50% of CA water released to the ocean for environmental use is cut.”