The warning comes after a federal judge ruled the state must cut back on the amount of water it pumps through the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta.
The judge ordered the curtailment to protect the tiny Delta smelt, an endangered fish which gets caught and killed in the pumps that funnel water from north to south in California. Department of Water Resources Director Lester Snow says the decision will mean significantly less water for those who rely on the Delta:
“In an average water year, where we normally would deliver almost 6 million acre feet, we expect under this order it could be a third less than that.”
The State’s Agriculture Secretary says it could mean fewer crops planted. And in Southern California, they’re working on a plan for mandatory conservation, in case it’s needed. Governor Schwarzenegger has made water storage and a Delta fix top priorities this year, but the legislative session ends in about a week. The Governor has hinted at calling a special session to deal with such issues.