In times of drought, it is important to keep in mind where the region’s water is going. I recently saw this pie chart from the California Water Plan (CA Department of Water Resources, 2015) and wondered how many people know about these allocations and uses.
Thankfully for those of us operating nature preserves, there is a hefty allocation for environmental uses. But a large part of the Conservancy’s operations involve irrigated agriculture. Rice farming in particular. And all of irrigated agriculture gets 37 percent of the total applied water usage from the Sacramento River according to this source. But we’ve already been noticed that we’ll be cut back to 75 percent this year, and the cuts may be even greater. Reality sets in when you realize that water can’t be delivered if it doesn’t exist. And that seems increasingly the predicament we’re in.