State and federal water officials announced Friday that deliveries of state water to agricultural and municipal users south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which had been slashed to 5 percent earlier, will drop further to zero due to the state's severe drought.
It will be the first time that the state has taken such drastic action.
"There's not enough water to go around," state Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said at a news conference. He also said that releases from severely depleted state and federal reservoirs would be dropped to the minimum necessary to prevent salt water intrusion into the Delta.
The reduction is one of a series of steps that water authorities are taking to curtail use because the state is in the third and worst year of drought, despite a light rainstorm that hit the northern part of the state this week.
Agricultural production accounts for most of the state's water use and is expected to be hit the hardest by the reduction. Municipal users in Southern California will fare better because the Metropolitan Water District that serves the area has reported fairly heavy reserves.
PHOTO: Cattle hoof prints mark the dry reservoir bed that normally stretches to Ione road in the east at the Van Vleck Ranch at Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento County, Calif. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.