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Drought Preparedness, Water Conservation and Water Supply Emergency Response
Drinking Water Emergencies: During the ongoing extreme dought conditons in the state, the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) is identifying public drinking water systems that may be vulnerable to acute drinking water shortages due to drought. DDW is continuing to monitor and evaluate drinking water systems to determine drinking water systems that may soon be at risk. Emergency drinking water grants are available. If you have concerns or questions about your public water system, please contact the Drinking Water Hotline at 1-855-737-1796.
- Notice of Funding Availability (State Water Board): The State Water Resources Control Board approved funding to provide interim emergency drinking water needs for those communities with a contaminated water supply or that suffer drought related water outages or threatened emergencies. Please visit our CAA Interim Emergency Drinking Water webpage for additional information.
- Notice of Funding Availablility (State Water Board): Fact Sheet Public Water System Drought Emergency Response (PWSDER) Program
- Funding: The Public Water System Drought Emergency (PWSDER) Guidelines have been approved.
- Drought Impact: Update on drought impact on public drinking water systems
- Local Ordinances: For public water systems considering the adoption of local ordinances concerning drought and/or water conservation.
- Drought Conditions: The California Drought Website has the most current information and updates regarding drought conditions throughout the State of California.
Drought-Related Activities and Information
California is facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history. On January 17, 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions. A second proclamation was issued on April 25, 2014 to redouble State drought actions. This follows the creation of a Drought Task Force that was established in December.
In the State of Emergency declaration, Governor Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages. The Governor also directed state agencies to use less water and initiated a greatly expanded water conservation public awareness campaign.
Division of Drinking Water (DDW) Actions
- Collect information on public water systems to help identify those anticipating severe shortages or water outages
- Provide assistance in identifying and permitting alternative water supplies
- Participate on the Governor's Drought Task Force
- Provide Funding and Technical Assistance
Important Contact Information
- If your water system is experiencing a water outage, contact your District Engineer (PDF)or Local Regulatory Agency (Word) immediately.
- For water systems experiencing diminishing water supply, please stay in contact with your District Engineer (PDF) or Local Regulatory Agency (Word). Funding may be available for short term, emergency water projects.
- The US Department of Agriculture has funding for emergency community water assistance. More information about this funding program can be found here.
- Longer term water projects (e.g., drilling new wells, etc.) may be eligible for the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SDWSRF). Currently, we are seeking federal approval to use SDWSRF funds to help emergency drought response actions. To keep up to date with the SDWSRF, please visit the program homepage here.
- If you have any questions regarding funding opportunities for drinking water systems, please contact your Regional Funding Coordinator (PDF).
- Region 1 Northern California: Pete Stamas, (916) 552-9983 Pete.Stamas@waterboards.ca.gov
- Region 2 Coastal Area: Maria Pang, (916) 445-2493 Maria.Pang@waterboards.ca.gov
- Region 3 Central Valley: Joel Greathouse, (559) 447-3481 Joel.Greathouse@waterboards.ca.gov
- Region 4 Los Angeles Area: Lawrence Sanchez, (818) 551-2017 Lawrence.Sanchez@waterboards.ca.gov
- Region 5 Southern California: Kyle Ochenduszko, (714) 558-4708 Kyle.Ochenduszko@waterboards.ca.gov
- All public water supply systems are encouraged to keep records of their water system production and delivery activities through metering at the source and at customer connections.
- All public water supply systems are also encouraged to adopt metered water rates that reflect the full cost of the water production and delivery and which encourage customers to minimize water use through progressively increasing water rates or other measures that penalize excessive water use.
- All public water supply systems that do not have customer meters and effective metered rates are encouraged to take the steps needed obtain the funds needed to install meters and adopt effective metered rates. Such water systems are also encouraged to adopt water conservation plans that minimize waste. Such plans should include voluntary and/or mandatory schedules for landscape irrigation, prohibitions on "gutter flooding", and may include restrictions on car washing and other uses if a severe water shortage is anticipated.
- All public water systems using wells should regularly measure and record the static and pumping water levels in their groundwater wells (at least monthly), watching for changes in the measurements. Declining water levels may result in reduced pumping capacity or a loss of suction in the pump if the water level drops below the pump bowls. Water level measuring tapes or sounding wires can be used in wells equipped with casing vents or sounding tubes. Alternatively, sonar water level indicators may be used on wells equipped without a casing vent or sounding tube. Instructions on how to measure well water levels, as well as the tools needed, can be found here (courtesy of California Rural Water Association). Information on groundwater elevation monitoring in your area may be available through the Department of Water Resources' Groundwater Elevation Monitoring study.
- All public water supply systems are encouraged to regularly conduct evaluations of the water losses in their delivery systems. The difference in water produced versus the water sold to customers should be tabulated and tracked at least on an annual basis. This information should be used to identify badly worn transmission and distribution system pipelines and storage facilities, which contribute to water loss.
- All public water systems are required to complete an electronic annual report. CDPH has added questions related to drought conditions which will greatly assist in identifying potential problems before they become a crisis.
- All public water systems should consider adopting local ordinances concerning drought and/or water conservation. Click here for sample documents and templates.
- Any public water system that anticipates severe shortages or water outages due to drought conditions should immediately contact its DDW District Office (PDF) to begin work on contingencies.
- The Governor has asked California residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 20 percent.
Governor's Office of Planning and Research Drought Information Clearinghouse
Information from the Department of Water Resources regarding the current drought conditions
Information from the State Water Resources Control Board regarding water rights and allocations
Information from California Rural Water Association on how to measure water levels in wells
- Save our Water Website
- Water Use it Wisely - 100+ ways to conserve
- Department of Water Resources - Water Use Efficiency
- California Water Boards - Conservation Tips for Agricultural Operations (PDF)
- County Environmental Health Contacts (Word)
- County Office of Emergency Services Contacts
- Cal OES Regional Office Contacts
- Local Integrated Regional Water Planning Agencies who can apply to Dept. of Water Resources for funding assistance on behalf of public water systems
Rural Communities, Businesses and Farmers
- Department of Water Resources: Agricultural Water Use
- California Department of Food and Agriculture
- USDA Rural Development Programs Offering Drought Assistance (PDF)
- USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants
Division of Drinking Water
Drought-Related Financial Assistance
CDPH Food and Drug Branch