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 major public water agencies in California did in 2010 to stretch their water supplies after three years of drought.