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DroughtRivers

State board’s curtailment order could have long-reaching effects

 •  by Lois Henry
Numerous rivers feed into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The State Water Resources Control Board approved an emergency order Aug. 3 banning nearly all entities with rights to those rivers from using water this year due to drought.

The real test of the state’s recently passed ban on the use of water from most of the state’s rivers won’t be later this summer when the ban will likely to go into effect, it will be the upcoming water year. And possibly longer term.

This irrigation season is nearly over. But growers and water managers are looking to how this order could play out if the new water year, which starts Oct. 1, is dry again.

In fact, some observers believe the emergency curtailment order approved unanimously by the State Water Resources Control Board at its Aug. 3 meeting is just the start of possibly much greater state control over water use in California.

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Lois Henry
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