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California drought: Nearly 2 million Californians face emergency due to water shortage as state grapples with severe drought conditions

Nearly two million people in the San Francisco Bay Area were placed in emergency water shortage on Wednesday as the state grapples with worsening drought conditions.

Mandatory water restrictions were issued for Santa Clara County, with officials saying the move was necessary to tackle low water supplies.

“We cannot afford to wait to act as our water supplies are threatened locally and across California,” Tony Estremera, director of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, said in a press release. “To better cope with these threats and the urgency they cause, my fellow Board members and I have today unanimously declared an emergency in terms of the shortage of electricity. water in Santa Clara County. “

Under the emergency declaration, nearly two million people are urged to reduce their water consumption by 15% from 2019. People are also encouraged to limit watering their lawns and filling their lawns. swimming pools.

The water district also urged Santa Clara County to declare its own local emergency.

“Increased conservation is also needed to protect local water supplies and guard against groundwater overdrafts, subsidence and dry domestic wells, especially if drought continues into the next year,” Estremera said.

The entire state of California is currently experiencing drought, with intensity levels ranging from moderate to exceptional statewide, according to the US Drought Monitor. The state recently experienced warm temperatures 3 to 6 degrees above normal, according to the Drought Watch website, which predicted the heat would continue throughout the week.

The water district’s declaration of emergency comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered the drainage of the Anderson Reservoir, the largest in Santa Clara County, to strengthen the dam, Estremera said. Officials said they also bring water from banks outside the county and buy water from partners, but these supplies are not guaranteed.

“About 50% of our water supply comes from outside our county, and the depleted snowpack in the Sierra Nevada has resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of imported water we will receive this year,” Estremera said.

Water levels in northern California lakes are dropping

Nearly 130 barges have been removed from Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir as well as a source of recreation, in anticipation of historic low water levels this summer, state officials said.

“We have been told by the Department of Water Resources that we are going to hit an all-time low,” California State Parks Chief Public Safety Officer Aaron Wright told CNN.

Lake Oroville provides water for consumption, agriculture and rivers with up to 3.5 million acre-feet of storage. The lake is experiencing exceptional drought, according to US Drought Monitor, along with dozens of other neighboring counties in northern California.

About 80 houseboats from Bidwell Canyon Marina and 50 houseboats from Lime Saddle Marina have been removed “to help adjust and avoid any problems as the water drops,” Wright explained. At lake level, Bidwell Canyon Marina has a capacity of 800 barges and Lime Saddle Marina has a capacity of 400.

Jared Rael, deputy general manager of Bidwell Canyon Marina, told CNN many people were upset when told their barges had to be taken out of the water.

“People are upset, but for a good reason,” said Rael. “They bought boats so that they could be on a lake, and unfortunately we are at a place where it is not safe to have their boats in certain places on the lake anymore because it is going to get so narrow.”

Rael added that barges are pulled from the lake every year, but this is the first time that so many boats have been forced to be pulled.

“Obviously the boat is pulling is not something we wanted to do, but it’s something we had to do,” he said. “We’re trying to do what we can in a bad situation.”


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