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State Regulators Concerned As New Water Year Starts

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Sacramento, CA — California regulators consider October 1st to be the start of a new water year.

It is the time when more precipitation traditionally starts to arrive following the parched summer months. The California Department of Water Resources reports that the just-concluded water year, beginning a year ago, was the second driest on record. In addition, October, June and July saw the warmest average statewide temperatures, ever.

The state’s reservoirs were mostly at, or above, their historic average a year ago. Today, they are at about 60-percent of the historic average. Locally, New Melones is at 63-percent of the historic average, which translates to 35-percent capacity. It can hold up to 2,400 acre feet of water at full capacity. Don Pedro is doing a little better, at 74-percent of average and 50-percent of capacity. Areas further to the north, like Lake Oroville and Lake Shasta, are only at about 37-percent of average and 23-percent of capacity.

The DWR is warning that many downstream customers, who receive water through the State Water Project, should prepare for a first-ever zero-percent allocation from them due to the dry conditions. That could lead to cutbacks, and mandatory restrictions, this coming year for many municipalities and farmers who rely on the water.

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