Water agencies in the state of California will not be getting any of the water they requested for 2022.
While the California Department of Water Resources allocation to state water contractors may be at 0 percent, the City of Santa Maria will revert to local ground water.
“We have not been providing any blend of state water for the last five to six weeks. We’ve been providing only ground water,” said Santa Maria Director of Utilities, Shad Springer.
While California continues to battle an ongoing drought, 27 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland won’t receive water requested for 2022.
“It’s not ideal. Importing state water also reduces the demand on the local groundwater basin, so it gives it a better opportunity for the water to recharge,” said Springer. “The water situation is either feast or famine, and we are in a famine situation.”
As a response, the City of Santa Maria will use local ground water reserves, pumping it to customers during low demand times.
Springer said Santa Maria generally uses a blend of state water and ground water.
“The state water we import is less hard, a softer water, so it is a better water quality product,” said Springer.
Springer said the water currently provided by the city still meets all the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and is perfectly fine for consumption.
With limited ground water, the usage of water is requested to still be at a minimum.
“We haven’t seen the ground water recharge that we normally do in the Santa Maria area,” said Springer. “We want to continue to encourage our local residents and businesses to conserve water as we continue through this dry period. We’re optimistic there will be continued rain and snow events throughout the year in California and the allocation will go up and there will be opportunities for the city of Santa Maria to import state water.”
Springer said the hope is that state water will return soon.
“As we get into the summer with the longer days, higher temperatures, and more water demand, we see the peak demand on our system go up and our intent is the augment our local water supplies with state water at that time to meet those higher demands during the summer,” said Springer.
To limit water usage, outdoor sprinklers don’t need to be turned on and shorter water usage is requested in the bathroom.