The drought crisis is already more apparent than the last one, according to Michael George, the delta watermaster at the State Water Resources Control Board.
“In the Delta watershed, it's been head snapping how quickly we got to crisis,” said George during a conference for the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) on Thursday. “There's going to be pain all around.”
Erik Ekdahl, the water board’s deputy director of water rights, said it was shocking to see the rapid degrading of conditions within the watershed.
“This almost complete loss of snowpack over a three-week time period is really unprecedented,” said Ekdahl, adding that conditions in the Russian River watershed are even worse than during the infamous 1976 drought.
Yet both staff members saw hope in progress with data collection for water systems and communication to stakeholders in recent years. In the last drought, stakeholders defended their water rights from perceived incursions by the water board, said George.
“What's different this time is that people are recognizing we are all in this together—it is all hands on deck,” he said.