California Orders Unprecedented, Mandatory Water Cuts

In this Nov. 17, 2014 file photo, boat slips sit on the dry lake bed at Brown’s Marina at Folsom Lake, near Folsom Calif. Source. RICH PEDRONCELLI AP

California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered unprecedented mandatory water cuts across the Golden State after the latest measurements show the state’s mountain snowpack—which accounts for roughly a third of California’s water supply—has shrunk to a record low of 5% of normal for this time of year.

The Democratic governor took the action on Wednesday after accompanying state surveyors into the Sierra Nevada mountains to manually verify electronic readings that show an average snow water equivalent of 1.4 inches, the lowest ever recorded on April 1. “Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow,” the governor said. “This historic drought demands unprecedented action.”

Gov. Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions of 25%.

Details on how the cuts would be implemented weren’t immediately released, although the governor said in his order that reductions would fall hardest in water districts that haven’t adequately followed his voluntary calls for conservation last year.

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