The US is warning California cities about a possible water cut in the fourth dry year

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Houseboats are seen on Lake Oroville during the drought in Oroville, California, U.S., Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Federal water managers on Monday warned California cities and industrial users that get water from the Central Valley Project to prepare for a fourth year of drought and possibly “severely limited water supplies” in 2023.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Interior Department agency that oversees water management, said drought conditions persisted in California despite early storms this month and warned of upcoming water conservation efforts.

“If drought conditions continue through 2023, it will be increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for Reclamation to meet all the competing needs of the Central Valley Project without initiating additional and more serious water conservation actions,” the agency notes. the statement said.

The agency said water supplies in the state’s reservoirs under its oversight, which irrigate more than 3 million acres of land in central California and supply major urban centers in the Greater Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas, are near historic lows. The water project supplies approximately 2.5 million people a year.

Cattle graze in drought conditions near Ojai, California on June 21, 2022. Most of Ventura County is now in extreme drought conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor. For the third year in a row, California is experiencing drought amid a climate change-induced megadrought in the US Southwest.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Shasta Reservoir, California’s largest reservoir, located about 200 miles north of the Bay Area, is currently 31% full, the agency said.

California receives the most water during the winter months, when storms bring snow to the mountain ranges. But record temperatures and low rainfall have left California and other states wondering about a future with dwindling water supplies.

A megadrought in the western United States has spawned the region’s driest two decades at least after 1200 years and the conditions are likely to persist for years. Researchers estimate that 42% of drought severity is attributable to human-induced climate change.

Earlier this year, California water officials cut appropriations for the state water project 15% to 5% of the rate for water agencies that serve approximately 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland.

The Bureau of Reclamation said it will announce initial water allocations for the Central Valley project in February.

A sign is posted next to an empty field on May 27, 2021 in Chowchilla, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

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