With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in January and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The state has continued to lead the way to make sure California is able to cope with an unprecedented drought.
Top Story: DWR Increases 2015 Allocation to Water Contractors
January 15, 2015 - December storm runoff and close coordination among federal and state agencies to take advantage of it will allow the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to increase expected water deliveries in 2015 to most customers of the State Water Project (SWP) from 10 percent of their requested amounts to 15 percent. The new allocation replaces the initial allocation of 10 percent announced on December 1.
CDFA AWARDS $5.8 MILLION TO ASSIST FARMERS IN SECOND PHASE OF STATE WATER EFFICIENCY AND ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM
January 21, 2015 - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $5.8 million for 70 different projects in the second phase of a program to implement on-farm water irrigation systems that reduce water and energy use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The funding for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) is part of emergency drought Legislation (SB 103) signed in early 2014 by Governor Brown – authorizing CDFA to distribute as much as $10 million for eligible projects, in cooperation with the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board.
California Arts Council: California Students Invited to Participate in Water Conservation Creativity Poster Contest
January 7, 2015 - The California Arts Council invites California students to participate in the Conservation Creativity Challenge Poster Contest. This contest supports State Drought Task Force efforts and Governor Brown's goal of awakening all Californians - including young people - to the ongoing need for water conservation in our state. The contest aims to educate students about the serious matter of California's drought, and to help raise awareness of everyday water conservation practices through the arts and creativity. This is the first time the California Arts Council and Department of Water Resources have partnered on an initiative.
Save Our Water Launches New Website, Offers Californians Tools and Tips to Reduce Their Water Use
January 7, 2015 - With the state still gripped by serious drought, Save Our Water has launched an all-new website at www.SaveOurWater.com to help Californians make lasting and permanent reductions in the amount of water they use every day. Californians made strides in 2014 to save water in the face of one of the worst droughts in generations. From the thousands of individuals who shared their conservation tips and ideas to celebrities including Lady Gaga and Conan O’Brien, Californians of all stripes joined the effort to save water last year.
State Water Board Reports Improvement in Urban Water Conservation Rates for November
January 6, 2015 - Against the backdrop of early season rainfall that has delivered only a third of what would be needed to end the prolonged drought, statewide residential water conservation in November climbed to a 9.8 percent reduction in year-over-year water use. This change was an improvement from the October data, which indicated conservation efforts were slipping, compared to previous months. In the most recent survey of nearly 400 urban water retailers, while the amount of water conserved by residential and commercial customers statewide continues to hover at around 10 percent, many of the State’s hydrologic regions are seeing marked increases in conservation efforts.
Survey Finds More Snow in Mountains, but Water Content Is Still Far Below Average for Date
December 30, 2014 - The first manual snow survey of the Sierra snowpack this winter found more snow than last year at this time, but the snow water equivalent as measured statewide remains far below average for this date. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted the survey today about 90 miles east of Sacramento on a plot along Highway 50 near Echo Summit. Snow covered the ground there to a depth of 21.3 inches, according to DWR’s Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program who conducted the survey. The snow water equivalent was 4 inches at that particular snow course, or 33 percent of average. Statewide, 105 electronic sensors in the Sierra detected a snow water equivalent of 4.8 inches, 50 percent of the multi-year average for December 30. That compares favorably with last Winter’s first survey, when the snow water equivalent statewide was only 20 percent of normal, which tied with 2012 as the driest readings on record.
CDFW Completes Drought Related Restoration Project at Lindsey Slough, Solano County
December 19, 2014 - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently completed an important watershed project for the benefit of fish and wildlife impacted by the state's historic drought. The Lindsey Slough Restoration Project in Solano County was completed at Calhoun Cut Ecological Reserve in November. The entire project included excavation and placement of fill at the historic Lindsey Slough to reestablish tidal connection to the historic marsh and channel system and enhance existing marsh habitat and associated vernal pools and grassland.
Federal, State Agencies Plan Drought Operations for 2015
December 12, 2014 - This week brings sorely needed and significant precipitation to California. But similar levels of rain and snow would have to fall consistently throughout this winter and spring for the state to begin to recover from extreme drought conditions. In preparation for a fourth year of drought, the directors of five federal and state agencies primarily involved in operating and regulating California’s two biggest water projects, the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, together have developed a strategy for potential implementation. State and federal agencies have developed a plan for 2015 operations and a summary of key lessons learned during 2014 in managing this extreme drought.
Brown Administration Opposes Federal Drought Legislation
December 9, 2014 - Writing on behalf of the State of California, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird today issued a formal opposition letter to HR5781: “Coming off a year where more progress has been made on water policy in California than any time in recent years – with broad support evident in the electorate for this strategy – this is no time to reignite water wars, move water policy back into the courts, and try to pit one part of the state against another. For this reason, the administration opposes HR5781. Our collective energies should be devoted to a long-term solution for California’s water needs in a way that rewards working together as opposed to dividing interests, just as the successful campaign for the water bond recently did. We stand ready to work with the supporters and opponents of HR5781 to that end.”
State Water Board Reports Decline In Urban Water Conservation Rates In October, But Total Urban Water Production Rates Down
December 2, 2014 - After leveling off in September, statewide residential water conservation receded in October to just a 6.7 percent reduction in year-over-year water use. In the most recent survey of nearly 400 urban water retailers, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) learned that while residential water use per person continues to decline this year, the rate at which water conservation has been occurring in each community compared to water use last year declined for the second straight month.
DWR: Updated Report: Groundwater Resources Depleted By Drought
December 2, 2014 - Following one of the driest years on record when groundwater resources have provided an increasing percentage of California’s water supply, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released an updated report on groundwater basins that details groundwater level changes, potential water shortages, land subsidence, farmland fallowing and gaps in groundwater monitoring.
Initial State Water Project Allocation Set at 10 Percent
December 1, 2014 - The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced an initial allocation of 10 percent for the customers of the State Water Project. Depending upon the volume of rain and snow that reaches California this winter that initial allocation may be increased. Should dry conditions return, DWR may reallocate State Water Project supplies to meet critical human health and safety needs. Improved precipitation forecasts this week allow DWR to set the initial allocation for 2015 at 10 percent, up from the five percent allocation SWP customers got this year.
Central Coast Water Board Approves Cambria Emergency Drought Project
November 14, 2014 - The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board today approved permits that will allow the Cambria Community Services District to operate an emergency water treatment system designed to increase the community’s water supplies during the drought.
Per Capita Daily Water Use Numbers Released By The State Water Board
November 4, 2014 - Despite recent rains and cooler weather throughout much of the state, California’s drought persists, and now for the first time, estimates of daily water use per person are being reported monthly for nearly every community water system statewide, providing important insight into how water systems are encouraging residents to save water. In addition, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) learned today that the statewide conservation rate leveled off in September after three months of steady improvement. Total urban water conservation was 10.3 percent in September, compared with September 2013.
Urban Water Suppliers Show Progress In August Water Conservation Report
October 7, 2014 - Water conservation efforts in California’s urban communities continued their upward trend, climbing to 11.5 percent statewide for the month of August, according to of the latest retail water supplier report released today by the State Water Resources Control Board. The August statewide water saving rate is a significant jump from the 7.5 percent reported in July and 4 percent in June, as compared to a year ago.
CDFA To Initiate Second Round Of Funding For The State Water Efficiency And Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
September 25, 2014 - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will begin accepting applications on September 29, 2014 for a second round of funding for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation (Senate Bill 103).
Governor Brown Streamlines Relief Efforts for Families With Drinking Water Shortages Due to Drought
September 19, 2014 - Just days after signing historic legislation requiring sustainable groundwater management for the first time in California, Governor
Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order streamlining efforts to provide water to families in dire need as the extreme drought continues to
grip the state.
Governor Brown Signs Historic Groundwater Legislation
September 16, 2014 - Putting California communities on a path to become more resilient to water shortages, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed
historic legislation to strengthen local management and monitoring of groundwater basins most critical to the state's water needs. "We have to
learn to manage wisely water, energy, land and our investments," said Governor Brown. "That's why this is important."
Urban Water Suppliers Report Progress On Conservation Measures
September 9, 2014 - California’s urban water conservation efforts for the month of July resulted in a seven and one-half percent drop, statewide, in
urban water usage from a year ago, according to results of a survey of retail water suppliers released today by the State Water Resources Control
Klamath River Spit Fishery Closes
August 29, 2014 - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the closure of the Klamath River Spit fishery as of Sept. 1. By sundown on
Sunday, Aug. 31, Klamath River anglers will have caught their sub-quota of 619 adult fall-run Chinook salmon below the Highway 101 bridge. This
triggers the closure of the Spit (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) to fishing as of the
Deer Creek Tributary Water Rights Curtailed to Provide Minimum Flows for Migratory Fish
June 9, 2014 -- The State Water Resources Control Board has issued curtailment orders to all water right holders on Deer Creek, a significant Sacramento River tributary, to ensure minimum flows for migratory fish.
$10 Million in Rental Assistance Soon Available for Families Affected by the Drought
June 4, 2014 - Thousands of low-income California families who are impacted by the drought will soon be receiving rental assistance, thanks to a new $10 million grant program being offered through California's Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). La Cooperativa, a nonprofit association, has been selected by HCD to administer the program, and assistance will begin flowing directly to California families in the coming weeks.
CSD Announces New $600,000 Water Utility Assistance Program to Help Families in Need During the Drought
June 4, 2014 - With extreme drought persisting throughout the state, today the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) announced the Drought Water Assistance Program (DWAP) to assist drought impacted, low-income households with their residential water utility bill to prevent disruption in vital water services and to promote water conservation. The $600,000 program will be directed to families in 10 counties currently experiencing some of the worst drought impacts.
State to Pursue Drought-Tolerant Landscaping, Irrigation in Capitol Park
May 9, 2014 - As record dry conditions persist across the state, the California Department of General Services (DGS) will roll-out a new drought-tolerant irrigation and landscaping program this week to preserve the oldest arboretum west of the Mississippi – home to hundreds of historic trees, many more than a decade old.
HCD to Provide Rental Assistance to Eligible Families Hit Hard by the Drought
May 6, 2014 - The California Department of Housing and Community Development will soon be providing rental assistance funds for eligible families severely impacted by the drought. A Request for Qualifications has just been released to seek out local government agencies and nonprofits to administer $10 million of this assistance.
CPUC Orders Water Utilities to Provide Notification to Customers of Water Use Restrictions and Potential Fines
August 14, 2014 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today ordered the water companies under its jurisdiction to provide direct notice
to their customers of mandatory water use restrictions and potential fines in response to the State Water Resources Control Board’s Emergency Regulation
for Statewide Water Conservation.
State and Federal Wildlife Managers Preparing Habitat for Migrating Birds
August 14, 2014 - Each year millions of birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway relying on a diverse string of habitats that stretch from Alaska and
Canada to Central and South America. While the wetlands of the Central Valley provide less than 5 percent of the habitat historically available, they
are critical as a feeding area during the migration and wintering of these birds. In following its mission, the California Department of Fish and
Wildlife (CDFW) has responsibility to provide habitat for these migrating birds.
Save Our Water: Conan O’Brien Urges Californians to Save Water During Historic Drought
August 5, 2014 – Iconic comedian and television talk show host Conan O’Brien and sidekick Andy Richter may always be looking for laughs, but they’re
taking California’s historic drought seriously by joining the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the State of California’s drought awareness
program, Save Our Water, in creating a new series of public service announcements to promote water conservation. Six videos featuring the duo – and
their humorous take on simple ways to save water – were released today, challenging Californians to do their part in cutting personal water use by 20 percent.
State Water Board: Mandatory Water Conservation Regulation Goes Into Effect
July 29, 2014 - On July 29, 2014, an emergency regulation to increase conservation practices for all Californians went into effect.
The new conservation regulation targets outdoor urban water use. In some areas of the State, 50 percent or more of daily water use
is for lawns and outdoor landscaping. With this regulation, all Californians are expected to stop: washing down driveways and sidewalks;
watering of outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff; using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off
nozzle, and using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated.
Save Our Water: Lady Gaga Joins Save Our Water Effort With Public Service Announcement
July 16, 2014 - In partnership with the State of California’s drought awareness program Save Our Water, international pop superstar and
five-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) asking Californians to join the effort and take
extraordinary measures to save water during the drought. The PSA is available on SaveOurWater.com, a new site designed to help
Californians find ways to conserve at home and at work every day. The Lady Gaga PSA also marks the launch of a new public awareness
campaign from Save Our Water urging Californians to join the effort to undertake extraordinary conservation efforts.
State Water Board Approves Emergency Regulation to Ensure Agencies and State Residents Increase Water Conservation
July 15, 2104 - In response to the ongoing severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board
approved an emergency regulation to ensure water agencies, their customers and state residents increase
water conservation in urban settings or face possible fines or other enforcement.
State Water Board Approves Emergency Regulation to Assure Compliance with Water Rights Curtailment Orders
July 2, 2104 - In response to the ongoing severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board Wednesday approved an emergency regulation
to assure compliance with curtailment orders issued to protect senior water rights throughout the state.
Emergency Water Conservation Regulations for Timber Harvesters Enacted
July 2, 2014 - In light of the unprecedented drought, the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection adopted emergency regulations
to conserve water for fish habitat and drinking water for Californians. The regulations became effective June 19.
San Diego Water Board Waives Regulation to Spur Water Conservation Saving Time and Money without Compromising Water Quality
June 26, 2014 - The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (San Diego Water Board) adopted an Order conditionally waiving regulation of 36 types of waste discharges, some of which will assist in regional water conservation efforts during the state’s third year of drought.
San Diego Water Board Authorizes a 50 Percent Increase in Recycled Water Production at USMC Base Camp Pendleton
June 26, 2014 - The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (San Diego Water Board) has adopted an order authorizing an increase in recycled water production at the US Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton from 5 million gallons per day to 7.5 million gallons per day, a 50 percent increase.
Governor Brown has convened an interagency Drought Task Force to provide a coordinated assessment of the State’s dry conditions and provide recommendations on current and future state actions. The response to this statewide disaster requires the combined efforts of all state agencies and the state's model mutual aid system to address.
In support of this unified effort, all state agencies with a role in supporting drought mitigation and relief efforts are organized under the Incident Command System and will continue provide emergency planning, response, and mitigation support as long as needs exist. Similar task forces have been assembled in the droughts of the 2000's, 1990's,
1980's and 1970's.
What You Can Do
- Weekly Drought Brief - January 21
- Summary of Water Management Actions
- Dept. of Water Resources
- Dept. of Water Resources Publications
- Dept. of Food & Ag Drought Portal
- Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
- Dept. of General Services
- Dept. of Public Health
- Office of Emergency Services
- State Water Resources Control Board
- Office of Planning and Research
Drought News Archive
Weekly Drought Brief Archive
Drought Partner Links
- Find Your Local Water Agency
- California Weather Data
- California Reservoir Conditions
- Daily Reservoir Storage Summary
- Central Valley Project Water Supply Information
- U.S. Drought Portal
- USGS Drought Information
- U.S. Navy Region Southwest Conservation Actions
- California Urban Water Conservation Council