Since the last drought, local water providers have implemented nearly 20 projects to increase water supply reliability and resiliency to drought. These projects allow water providers to more easily shift to groundwater and share water around the region in order to reduce reliance on Folsom Lake and the Lower American River for drinking water supplies.
While the Sacramento region is in a strong position to meet the water supply needs of people, the very dry conditions are looking increasingly dire for the environment of the Lower American River. RWA is continuing to work with the Sacramento Water Forum, and federal and state agencies, to monitor and address conditions.
Dry year actions underway by local water providers include:
- Shifting to using more groundwater: Over the past several decades local water providers have been working together to sustainably shift the region’s water use to surface water or groundwater according to conditions. This has allowed more groundwater to be available for dry times. We know this approach works as demonstrated during the most recent drought when the Sacramento region used more groundwater than typical in 2014 (a dry year) to leave more in our waterways for fish and wildlife. In the wet years since the last drought, when there was surplus water beyond environmental needs, more surface water was used and the groundwater basin recovered. Since this is a dry year, we are planning to use more groundwater than normal in 2021.
- Sharing water around the region: Since the last drought, water providers have invested in new pipelines, interties, pumps and groundwater wells to move water where it’s needed. This system builds on the existing ability to shift between surface and groundwater and is ready to assist the communities most directly impacted by lower levels at Folsom Reservoir.
- Asking customers to voluntarily conserve water by 10 percent, especially outdoors where most household water use occurs in the Sacramento region. We ask our customers to use water efficiently no matter the weather, and regional water use is already lower than it was in 2013, before the last major drought. Now, they must be even more focused on efficiency and stopping water waste.
It’s important to remember that we’ve been here before—and frankly will be here again with climate change. The region’s water providers have developed a comprehensive water resilience portfolio called WaterFuture, which encompasses our entire ‘supershed’ from the mountain tops of the American River watershed to the groundwater basin below the valley floor. You can learn more about this at rwah2o.org/WaterFuture.
- NEWS RELEASE: RWA Urges Members to Consider Conservation, Shifting to Groundwater to Help the Lower American River (May 13, 2021)
- MEDIA STATEMENT: Emergency Declaration Underscores Region’s Drought Concerns, Actions to Protect the Lower American River (May 11, 2021)
- MEDIA STATEMENT: Senate Budget Proposal Could Boost Resiliency to Drought and Climate Change in the Sacramento Region (April 29, 2021)
- MEDIA STATEMENT: Sacramento Region Ready to Address Grim Forecast (March 23, 2021)
- MEDIA STATEMENT: Water Supplies in Good Shape Despite Dry Start (December 30, 2020)
- Be Water Smart: The region’s water efficiency program with information about water-wise rebates and tips: https://bewatersmart.info/
- Sacramento Region Landscape Watering Guidelines: https://bewatersmart.info/wateringmap/
- Find Your Water Provider: https://bewatersmart.info/find-your-water-provider/
- WaterFuture, a comprehensive water resilience portfolio to address the projected impacts of climate change on the Sacramento region’s water supplies: https://rwah2o.org/waterfuture/
- The Sacramento Water Forum is a coalition of water providers, environmental groups, local government and business groups to balance to co-equal objectives of reliable water supplies and environmental stewardship of the Lower American River: https://www.waterforum.org/
News Media Inquiries
- Connect with experts in regional water supplies, environmental stewardship, water policy and water efficiency topics by contacting outreach coordinator Christine Kohn at (916) 548-8988 or christine@INprOnline.com.