For the first time in almost 40 years, California state regulators have told over 100 growers and irrigation districts they must dipping into drought-starved rivers and streams in California's Central Valley.
The restrictions affect some of the oldest water rights in California.
"The state is reaching back more than a century in the hierarchy of California water rights," reports the Los Angeles Times. In case you questioned how serious this drought is.
From the LAT:
The curtailment order, issued Friday by the State Water Resources Control Board, has been expected for weeks. The board earlier this spring halted diversions by some 8,700 junior rights holders. With snowmelt reduced to a trickle this year, there simply isn't enough water flowing in rivers to meet the demand of all those with even older rights predating 1914.
The effects of the curtailments, which affect water users with rights dating to 1903, will vary. Many have water in storage that they can continue to use. Utilities can keep using flows for hydropower production as long as the water is returned to the rivers. Some growers and ranchers also have groundwater supplies unaffected by the order.