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Drought Forces Stream Curtailments

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Sacramento, CA – The State Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) has ordered some Central Valley farms to stop pumping from streams for the second year in a row.

Letters imposing the curtailments were sent to nearly 1,500 farms and others, requiring them to stop taking water for irrigation, stating there is not enough water in rivers and streams in the San Joaquin and Scott rivers’ watersheds to meet demand.  Agricultural users made up a total of 2,549 or 85 percent of those with water rights who received the curtailment notices.

State regulators advise water rights holders that they can use water previously stored in reservoirs.  However, if that is not available, other sources, such as groundwater, purchasing water or stopping water use all together are farmers’ only options.  Violators of the notices will face fines up to $1,000 per day and $2,500 per acre-foot of water, cease and desist orders, or prosecution.  The San Joaquin River watershed covers almost 16,000 square miles and includes the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.