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  • A water issue for thought: Rural water use and the California Water Plan

    A water issue for thought: Rural water use and the California Water Plan

    On May 2, 2014 at the Your Voice, Your Future event in Eureka the Chief of the Northern Region Office of the California Department of Water Resources presented the attached informational graphic showing the components of California’s Applied Water Use and Dedicated & Developed Water Supply. Mr. Anderson informed the audience that the components of the graphic provide the basis for the development of California’s Water Plan. As you can see, the left side showing the Applied Water Use of California does not contain a rural water use component. The omission of rural water use as a stand alone component in the State water planning process leaves:

    1. Rural water users vulnerable to inadequate water supplies, and

    2. The quantity of source water for rural users (primarily stream flows and groundwater) over estimated and at risk of over use.

    As water demand increases throughout the State, additional sources of water will be sought. According the California Department of Water Resources California Water Plan Update 2013 when “water supplies fall short… the wild and scenic rivers and environmental uses receive the largest reductions.” Due to the lack of consideration for the quantities of surface and ground water used for rural use it can be argued that allocated supplies for wild and scenic rivers and environmental uses are already short of what is needed. Rural water use needs to be considered to allow for adequate human and ecological supplies during times of scarcity.

    So then, how do we, the rural citizens of California, inform the regulatory processes of the water we use and depend upon for our lives and livelihoods?

    1. Continue this conversation with friends, family, community leaders & colleagues;

    2. Estimate and quantify our rural water use;

    3. File a Statement of Water Diversion & Use or Register for a Small Domestic Use Permit stating the quantity of water used; and,

    4. Send emails to the Department of Water Resources and Governor Jerry Brown letting them know that we value water supplies for rural users, wild and scenic rivers, and environmental uses and do not want them to be impacted by lack of quantification and planning @ cwpcom@water.ca.gov and http://www.govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php