Cities That Rely on the Central Valley Project Should Prepare for Water Cuts, Feds Say

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued an ominous warning Monday to California cities and industrial users that rely on the Central Valley Project. They should “begin planning for potentially extremely limited water supply conditions in 2023,” the agency said, including future conservation measures (e.g. cuts).

“The Central Valley Project began the 2023 water year on October 1 with water storage reservoirs near historic lows,” the Bureau explained in a statement. “Shasta Reservoir, the state’s largest reservoir and cornerstone of the Central Valley Project, is currently at 31% capacity. If drought conditions extend into 2023, Reclamation will find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to meet all the competing needs of the Central Valley Project without beginning the implementation of additional and more severe water conservation actions.”  

In February 2023, as the drought entered its third year, the Bureau announced a zero-water allocation for irrigation districts and allocated just 24% of historical use to cities that receive water from the project.  

The next water supply allocations will be announced in February of 2023.