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Californians should brace for another year of brown lawns, tight water restrictions and increased calls for conservation as state water managers Thursday warned that severely reduced allocations are once again likely in 2023.
The Department of Water Resources announced an initial allocation of just 5% of requested supplies from the State Water Project — a complex system of reservoirs, canals and dams that acts as a major component of California’s water system, feeding 29 water agencies that together provide water for about 27 million residents.
Water managers will monitor how the wet season develops and reassess the allocation each month through spring, officials said. But California typically receives the bulk of its moisture — both rain and snow — during the winter, and current forecasts are leaning toward a fourth consecutive year of dryness despite the recent storms.
“California and most of the Western U.S. states do remain in extreme drought conditions driven by climate change, and as water managers, we are adjusting to these hotter and drier conditions,” said Molly White, water operations manager for the State Water Project. “We are taking a very cautious approach with respect to planning for next year, should next year be a fourth drought year in a row.”
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