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Largest Water Cuts in California's History

Order affects Sacramento, San Joaquin and delta watersheds

The State Water Resources Control Board ordered over 100 water rights holders to stop all pumping from three major waterways in one of the country’s prime farm regions.

Economists and agriculture experts say that the cuts are expected to have little immediate impact on food prices, with the growing of some crops to shift to regions with more  water in the short-term.

The curtailment order applies to 114 entities, including individual landowners and water districts serving farmers and small communities, with claims dating back to 1914 or before.

It will force thousands of water users in the state to tap groundwater, buy it at rising costs, use previously stored water or go dry.

"It's going to be a different story for each one of them, and a struggle for all of them," Thomas Howard, executive director of the water board, acknowledged

As the state deals with one of the largest droughts it has ever encountered, it is the first time that California has directed a number of senior water rights holders to stop pumping for these reasons since 1977.

"We are now at the point where demand in our system is outstripping supply for even the most senior water rights holders," said Caren Trgovcich, chief deputy director of the water board.

Jeanne Zolezzi, an attorney for two small irrigation districts serving farmers in the San Joaquin area, says she plans to go to court next week to stop the board's action.

Source: The Independent

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