Water Supply Challenges

California relies on an elaborate network of water storage and delivery systems to supply cities, farms, businesses and the environment with adequate water year-round. The systems are necessary because California’s Mediterranean climate means we receive little or no rain for months at a time. The ability to store and move water has made it possible for California to grow and prosper.

Precipitation varies from place to place, season to season, and year to year. Most of the state’s rain and snowfall occurs in the northern part of the state, while most of the demand for water is along the coast and in the valleys to the south of Sacramento. California receives most of its rain and snowfall between October and April, though the highest demand for water is in the hot, dry summer months.

California’s water system was developed to address that variability. Two important projects in that system are the State Water Project (SWP) and the federal Central Valley Project (CVP). The SWP and the CVP bring water from Northern California through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta for delivery to users in the San Joaquin Valley, parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.

While the systems operate effectively in some years, California is prone to drought, and the next one is always around the corner. See what public water agencies in California are doing in 2013 to stretch their water supplies in response to this year's historically dry conditions.

Latest News about Water Supply Challenges

Snow at Phillips Station on Jan. 29, 2015
Increased temperatures and a sharp decrease in precipitation since early December are to blame for the state’s meager snowpack, the... read»
The Sacramento region as a whole answered Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for significant water conservation last year and reduced its water... read»
Emergency salinity control barriers may be needed in three channels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta if weather conditions stay... read»
The Bureau of Reclamation on Friday provided an update on the current water supply conditions for six key Central Valley Project reservoirs... read»
The State Water Resources Control Board advised water rights holders today that water diversions may be curtailed in critically dry... read»

Latest Posts about Water Supply Challenges

Save Our Water, the state’s largest water conservation program, today urged Californians to take note of state officials’... read more»
Below are materials from the Integrated Watershed Management Initiative Kickoff meeting Sept. 25. read more»
This program will address the fundamentals to water supply reliability in urban water management plans and water supply assessments... read more»
  Wednesday, May 11, 2011 10 - 11:50 a.m. (1.75 hours of MCLE general credit) read more»