California Water Plan Foretells Tension Between Cities, Farmers

Recognizing the ongoing drought's severity, Sacramento is set to adopt a new statewide conservation plan. But some say the regulations don't place enough pressure on California's agricultural sector.

Read Time: 1 minute

December 12, 2016, 10:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


California State Water project

Aaron Kohr / Shutterstock

Recent scattered rainstorms in California don't change the underlying reality. "The current drought encompassed the driest four-year spell in state history, devastating some rural communities and many native species."

From an article by KPCC, "Under the governor's order, state agencies [...] released the plan for a long-term water diet for California. They anticipate climate change to cause the Sierra Nevada snowpack — one of California's largest sources of water — to decline by half by the end of the century."

Much of the regulatory burden falls on California's cities. "The plan includes creating customized water-use limits for urban water districts, so that arid Palm Springs, for example, would have a different amount of water budgeted than foggy San Francisco."

Some critics accuse the plan of going light on the state's $47 billion agricultural industry. "California officials crafting a new conservation plan for the state's dry future drew criticism from environmentalists for failing to require more cutbacks of farmers, who use 80 percent of the water consumed by people." Industry groups insist that steady progress is being made to conserve water. 

State officials expect the plan to be adopted in January. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016 in KPCC

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