Amid California's drought, state officials have announced they won't be able to provide water to agencies serving 25 million people and nearly 1 million acres of farmland.
Friday's announcement marks the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project that such action has been taken. Two local water districts are included in the list: The Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency.
The Desert Water Agency (DWA) exchanges the water it receives from the SWP for water from the Colorado River Aqueduct because there is not a direct pipeline from the SWP to Palm Springs.
DWA uses this water to recharge its groundwater basin, ultimately providing water to Coachella Valley residents and businesses.
State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin says there simply is not enough water in the system now. He says the action was taken to conserve water in the state's reservoirs, which are far below normal levels.
Most of the towns and farms that draw from the State Water Project have other sources of water. But those are also limited because of the dry conditions.
The zero percent allocation is a result of the record drought facing California this year. This is the first time in the history of the SWP contract that there is a zero percent allocation statewide; however it is not the first time DWA and Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) have had a zero delivery.
In 1977, the agencies decided to forgo their deliveries to help agricultural interests in the state. While the DWA with the CVWD have worked hard to bring in additional supplies during wet years, DWA is urging residents to reduce water use to maintain those supplies.
At its upcoming February 4 Board meeting, the DWA Board of Directors will be considering ways to supplement existing conservation measures and programs. In addition, DWA will host a public workshop about conservation and drought conditions on February 22, from 9 am to 11 am. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, Room Mesquite B.