California’s Water Bank and the Drought in California – a California Water Law Attorney Conclusion – We’re Dry Out Here

Here in the desert cities of Palm Springs, CA, Joshua Tree, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Indian Wells, Yucca Valley, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, Twentynine Palms, Thermal, Indio, Coachella, La Quinta, Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley or Barstow, in the somewhat greener areas of Southern California such as Newport Beach, Buena Park, Anaheim, Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Carlsbad, Mission Viejo and in other cities in San Diego,Orange County, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Cambria, agricultural areas such as the central valley of Fresno and the Imperial Valley, the drought in California is a serious problem for all of us in this State.

After the driest spring in 88 years, in June 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger formally declared California to be in a drought and nine counties in the Central Valley to be in a state of emergency after two years of below-average rainfall and six dry years that have killed off fish populations, driven down agricultural land values and required severe reductions in water usage in the Central Valley. The declaration, while bad enough, still stops short of a statewide water emergency which, if declared, will likely carry with it mandatory water rationing.

Efforts to capture water have been hampered by evaporation of snow packs due to climate change, but snowpack water content this winter was only 67 percent of average. California’s water shortage was compounded by a federal court order limiting the pumping of water from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta to protect a species of fish.

And so in June 2008 the State of California formed a Water Bank to buy water from farmers upstream from the Delta and from local water agencies and to make it available for sale to public water systems and private water systems who may otherwise run short of water next year. Agencies buying the water will have to agree to a 20 percent reduction overall in water usage. It is believed that the Water Bank will stave off mandatory water rationing.

Under the plan, water purchased from northern farmers and water agencies will be shipped south via the State’s canals.

Currently, there is no end in sight to California’s dry conditions. While there is a $9.3 billion plan in the State legislature to address the state’s delta environmental problems and expand the state’s water works, it has been tied up while the legislators haggled over a budget.

A bill to require Californian’s to cut water usage by 20 percent recently passed the Assembly and the bill puts the onus on residents as opposed to farmers.

In the midst of this water crisis, an amazing 100 facilities are bottling water in California, using California’s precious water supply. An Assembly Bill to measure the amount of water being bottled is an attempt to learn just how bad the abuse of these water supplies is on top of the pollution and harm to the environment caused by these facilities and the plastic water bottles, most of which are not recycled.

The Department of Public Resources estimates that more than 1 billion gallons of bottled water are sold in California each year. 

If you have a water law issue in San Diego, Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange County, La Jolla, in the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Palm Springs or anywhere in Southern California, we have the knowledge and resources to be your California Water Lawyer and your Santa Barbara Environmental Attorney. Be sure to hire a California law firm with environmental law experience who can serve areas such as Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Anaheim, Irvine, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Newport Beach, Carlsbad, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Fullerton, Del Mar, San Diego, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, Buena Park, La Jolla, Oxnard, Ventura, La Quinta, and Santa Barbara so you are properly represented.

If you have a water law or environmental dispute of any kind, call the Law Offices of R. Sebastian Gibson, or visit our website at  and learn how we can assist you.

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