Thousands of water rights holders could be cut off from rivers
California water regulators are preparing to do what they’ve been warning about for months – cut the spigot to thousands of water rights holders.
The state Water Resources Control Board will consider an emergency order at its August 3 meeting that would bar farmers, cities and others from continuing to tap into rivers that feed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. If approved, the order would go into effect Aug. 16. The proposed order was released Friday. Water Board staff will hold a workshop to answer questions July 27 starting at 1 p.m.
Because river curtailments of this magnitude would be an unprecedented step — something not done during California’s devastating 2012-2016 drought — the Water Board began sending a series of warning notices to rights holders in March, said Eileen Sobeck, Executive Director of the state Water Board.
“We don’t take this lightly,” she said during a conference call that included Karen Ross, California Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture, and Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources.