An Important Water Delivery System


For the first time in its 54-year history, the California State Water Project—a backbone of California’s water system—announced it would cease providing water to downstream agencies this year because of the severe drought. The decision was announced shortly after Governor Brown’s call for a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use.

At this time, regions will have to rely on water stored in local reservoirs, pumped from underground wells, recycled water, and conservation measures to meet demand. What does this mean to Santa Ana residents? While there are sufficient water reserves available, residents will need to curb their water usage. In this report, you can read about simple ways to cut back your water use by 20 percent and take advantage of rebates being offered.

What is the California State Water Project?

About 30 percent of Orange County’s water supply travels a long distance though a complex delivery system called the California State Water Project. It is the nation’s largest state-built water storage and delivery system of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping plants, supplying water to 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. The original purpose of the project was to provide water for arid Southern California, whose local water resources and share of the Colorado River were insufficient to sustain the region's growth. Today, it distributes water to 29 urban and agricultural water suppliers in Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, and Southern California.

Why is it important?

Water has always been a scarce resource in California. The State Water Project is operated to deliver a more reliable water supply for farms and communities. It protects our future water resources while protecting fish and wildlife, improving water quality in the Delta, and controlling Feather River floodwaters. As we look forward, the State Water Project’s role in providing a more resilient water resources system will help California endure inevitable challenges in coming decades. It is essential to our future sustainability.