Amid California’s most crippling drought of modern times, state officials on Friday announced they will not allocate water to agencies that serve 25 million people and nearly 1 million acres of farmland.
The announcement marks the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project that such an action has been taken. State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said the action was taken to conserve the little water that remains behind the dams in the state’s vast system of reservoirs.
“Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project,” Cowin said in a statement.
Most of the 29 agencies serving the towns and farms that draw from the State Water Project have other, local sources of water, but those also have been hard-hit by the drought.
The total cut-off of state water deliveries this spring and summer could have a national impact because it will affect farms in one of the nation’s richest agricultural belts.