Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

California Loosens Water Cutbacks In Drought

Photo credit: Associated Press

The Almaden Reservoir is filled after series of storms in San Jose, March 14, 2016.

California will deliver more water this year than it has for each of the last three, as spring storms have nearly filled the state's major reservoirs, officials said Thursday.

Water districts serving nearly a million acres of farmland and 40 million residents will receive 60 percent of the water they requested, the state Department of Water Resources announced.

March storms soaked Northern California after a mostly dry February, said officials, urging residents to continue conserving because the state remains in drought, and it remains unclear what next winter will bring.

"Conservation is the surest and easiest way to stretch supplies," Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. "We all need to make the sparing, wise use of water a daily habit."

This is California's fifth consecutive drought year and the fourth such increase in recent months of the allocation, which started in December at 10 percent. In 2014, the agency provided clients as little as 5 percent of what they requested for the year.

Northern California this winter received significantly more wet weather than the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, where reservoirs remain low. Officials say it will take several years for California to recover from the dry spell.

Residents statewide for now remain under orders to use at least 20 percent less water than they did before the drought.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.