State Water Project contractors, who supply water to residential and agricultural users in California, were disappointed with an initial allocation of water resources for 2009. The contractors had requested 4,166,376 million acre-feet of water be delivered for the 2009 for dispersal to users. Instead, they were initially granted only 15% of this of this amount, the 2nd lowest initial allocation in history.
The cutbacks are partially due to low water levels in the delta, the main water hub for the state, and are exacerbated by court ordered restrictions on water delivery. As well, the demand for water has increased by 21,252 million acre-feet over last year. While the allocation number could go up as the year progresses there will not likely be much relief, as allocation only increased by 10% last year from initial to final amounts. As California enters its third year of a state-wide drought the economic impact of water shortages could be between $500 million and $3 billion US.
Source: Western Farm Press, Wall Street Journal