Wednesday June 8, 2022


In sweeping water curtailments stretching from Fresno to the Oregon state line, cities and growers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed have been ordered to stop pumping from rivers and streams.

The cutbacks, announced today by the State Water Resources Control Board, will affect 4,252 water rights in the Delta watershed, including 400 or more held by 212 public water systems, beginning Wednesday. But they’re concentrated around the San Joaquin River and its tributaries, where state officials expect “significant, very deep cuts.” 

Water board staff called the cutbacks “unprecedented,” although similar curtailments were imposed in the watershed last year, just much later in the year, in August. 

California’s water rights system operates on the basis of seniority — those with the oldest claims are typically the last to be cut back. But even those with rights in the San Joaquin watershed that date back to 1900, before California enacted its water rights law, are expected to be hit with the curtailment orders.

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