Despite the recent emergency curtailment orders covering the rivers of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed, there is some optimism for addressing California’s water challenges moving forward. Several farmers and irrigation districts have raised objections to the curtailment orders, which the State Water Resources Control Board has indicated could affect approximately 5,700 water rights holders.
California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross acknowledged the impact the curtailment order will have on the state’s farmers and ranchers, noting that it’s a painful moment for the state. But she described the action as being necessary given the current condition of the state’s water supplies. While the curtailment orders have elicited an array of responses from industry members, Ross remains hopeful that a more mutually beneficial solution can be developed to address California’s water system moving forward.
“The regulatory tools are pretty blunt, and curtailments are a blunt instrument,” Ross explained. “But I am very optimistic with leadership at the local level within that Delta watershed that people will come up with some alternative solutions for this year. Then hopefully we’ll all work together to plan in case another bad winter happens, and we need a drought reliability plan, we will be prepared for it next year.”
Listen to the radio report below.