Drought-hit California unable to supply state water

Small pool of water is surrounded by cracked earth at the Almaden Reservoir (28 January 2014) Farmers said the announcement was "a terrible blow"

Related Stories

California's water agency has announced it may for the first time be unable to deliver water to local agencies, amid a worsening drought.

Two-thirds of state residents and 1m acres (404,500 hectares) of farmland get part or all of their drinking and irrigation supplies from the agency.

A state-wide drought was declared earlier this month, as the largest reservoirs sank to record low levels.

Forecasters have warned 2014 could be California's driest year on record.

The extreme conditions have already caused a wildfire that destroyed homes in the Los Angeles area.

Previous extremely dry years led to catastrophic wildfire seasons in California in 2003 and 2007.

'Drought is real'

It is the first time in the water agency's history that it has predicted a so-called "zero allocation", which will affect around 25m people.

State governor Jerry Brown said the announcement was a "stark reminder that California's drought is real".

He urged residents to conserve water, suggesting they avoid flushing toilets unnecessarily and to turn off the tap while shaving.

Meanwhile a spokesman for the state's farming federation called the news "a terrible blow".

The water originates from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

It is delivered to local agencies via a vast network of reservoirs, pipelines, aqueducts and pumping stations.

The 29 agencies that draw from the state's water-delivery system have other sources, Associated Press reports, although these too have been badly hit.

Car sits at the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir (28 January 2014) A car sits in dried and cracked earth of what was the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir
No swimming sign at the Almaden Reservoir (28 January 2014) Residents have been urged to double their water conservation efforts
Houseboats docked at Holiday Harbor (23 January 2014) These houseboats lie docked in Shasta Lake, which is 100 feet (30 metres) below its normal levels
Dying grass and trees near Shasta Lake (23 January 2014) The dry conditions have heightened the risk of wildfires

More on This Story

Related Stories

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Woman standingMysterious miracle

    It's extremely unusual and shouldn't give false hope, but what makes the body beat cancer on its own?


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach - why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.