California Drought: Dry Central Valley Won’t Get Federal Water, Again

February 27, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) announced Friday that it will not be delivering water to many of its Central Valley Project agricultural water contractors, continuing the governor’s state of emergency issued in January 2014.

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. had issued the state of emergency due to alarmingly low water levels and called it the “driest year in recorded state history.” 

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California’s Central Valley region spans approximately 22, 500 square miles, 13.7 percent of California’s total land area, or slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia.

Citing extreme drought conditions, the announcement states that absent some unusually heavy precipitation in the next few months, the drought is likely to persist.

Although this is the second year for the state of emergency, the BOR said this is potentially the fourth year of severe drought.

“Reclamation and the Department of the Interior will continue to work with the State of California and our water users to do everything possible to increase water deliveries from the project as we move yet another difficult year,” said Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo.