On Friday, June 12, California announced that it would finally begin applying sharp water restrictions to farmers in Sacramento, San Joaquin, and delta watersheds, whose water usage rights were first introduced in 1903 and were last reduced in 1977.
As the summer season continues, and as the drought persists, the restrictions are expected to become more severe.
Earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the entire state would be subject to a 25 percent reduction of water use, but did not apply the cuts to farmers, although agriculture makes up an estimated 80 percent of California’s water consumption.
Just last month, some 200 farmers did agree to cut their water usage by 25 percent in exchange for protection from more drastic cuts later in the season, which now appear inevitable.
“Demand in our key rivers systems are outstripping supply,” announced Caren Trgovcich, the State Water Resources Control Board’s chief deputy director. “Other cuts may be imminent.”