California is currently experiencing an unprecedented drought beginning in 2012. In January 2014, the Governor declared a State of Emergency in California in response to current drought conditions. 2015 has surpassed 1977 as the driest year on record in California. As of June 2015, statewide reservoirs are at 18-67% of average and Sonoma County has declared a local Emergency Proclamation.

While California has experienced prolonged droughts in the past, notably 1973, 1976-77, 1987-1991, and 2007-09, California faces an uncertain water future as climate change will likely increase the number and severity of future droughts. The magnitude of this change is currently unknown, but we do know that the way we consume and manage water will need to change in the future. The following resources help to understand the challenge we face as a region and the opportunities we face to better manage our water future.

ABAG’s role in Bay Area Drought Planning

As the lead agency for regional planning in the Bay Area, ABAG is deeply interested in how our local water purveyors are working to reach the current reduced demand levels recently set by Governor Brown; the planning underway by the water districts for a possible continuation of this drought for several more years; and what planning may be underway or contemplated for a major drought disaster like the 10-year event that has just recently ended in Australia. In 2015 ABAG’s Executive Board invited several Bay Area water agencies to present their plans to address the drought. Those presentations are posted here.

To learn more about the Bay Area’s water supply system and sources, view our recently completed infrastructure project.

Bay Area Water in a Changing Climate

In June 2015, ABAG participated in the “Bay Area Water in a Changing Climate” workshop hosted by the Climate Readiness Institute to discuss strategies for addressing the current drought and the longer term shifts in our water/climate world. The outcomes of that workshop are posted here.

Current Actions
Proposed Actions
Help Needed from CRI
Top Drought and Water Websites
Last updated: 06.26.2015