WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Authorities in the US state of California accepted the offer by the San Joaquin River Delta farmers to voluntary cut back water use by 25 percent and pledged not to impose additional restrictions on them, State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus said in a statement.
“This proposal helps Delta growers manage the risk of potentially deeper curtailment, while ensuring significant water conservation efforts in this fourth year of drought,” Marcus said on Friday.
Participating farmers must submit a specific plan to achieve water cuts by June 1, 2015 as part of the deal.
“Riparian water right holders who choose not to participate in this voluntary program may face enforcement of riparian curtailments later this year,” it said.
California, the United States’ most populous state, is in the midst of an unprecedented and deepening drought that has caused record water shortages and reduced water availability for agriculture, human consumption and wildlife.
Some California communities fully rely on groundwater, but others have been forced to use bottled water as underground water resources are drying up or are diverted to agriculture.