San Francisco Ordered Not to Take All the Water

California regulators told the city of San Francisco it had to stop taking some river water that it annually stores in a reservoir up in the Sierra Nevada.

The city is far from worrying about its tap running dry from the ongoing drought.

Officials announced that the order to cutback does not apply to the water that is already stored at the reservoir, which currently has sufficient water to last the city at least two more drought years if needed.

The cutback was ordered by the SWRCB – the State Water Resources Control Board – in its most recent round of cutback notices informing individuals, corporations and agencies holding different water rights that the waterways were far too dry to sufficiently meet the demand during this drought.

San Francisco receives its water from snowmelt that runs into the Tuolumne River from the Sierra Nevada to supply its water for drinking. However, the current snowpack has nearly vanished in the drought’s fourth year.

Several claims that are century-old are held by the city to the river. Included in those is one that was nailed to a tree back in 2013 by the then mayor of San Francisco. It is not clear the amount of water is diverted by San Francisco from the river to be stored under the Friday orders.

The reservoir – Hetch Hetchy – is located approximately 160 miles away from San Francisco in the mountains and is the supplier of water to the city’s 2.5 million residents.

Eighty-five percent of San Francisco’s water is received from that reservoir. The city that is densely packed also has very few green areas or lawns and is amongst the most frugal when it comes to water usage, with its residents using only 45 gallons on average per day.

Under the system of water rights in California, the first claiming a stake in water as far back as the Gold Rush was amongst the last to be given cuts.

Thousands of the state’s farmers have already been ordered to stop pumping water from the San Joaquin, Sacramento and delta watersheds.

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