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Water at Low Levels at some Central Valley Dams

The low levels of water at several Central Valley dams could threaten the lifeblood of the Central Valley--the agriculture industry.

Several reservoirs in the Central Valley reservoirs are at their lowest levels since 2009 when California was in a drought.

Tuesday, California's water worries brought together concerned parties from around the state to talk about long-term solutions.

But time may be running out.

"We are bracing ourselves for a potential zero water allocation," said Gayle Holman, public affairs representative with the Westlands Water District.

California farmers face a zero percent water allocation at the beginning of 2014.
    
"Many people think water just comes out of a canal or tap. They don't know what goes into it before then. And they don't know what comes because of it," said John Laird, California Secretary of Natural Resources.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Project reservoirs provide about 7 million acre-feet of water for agriculture, urban and wildlife use.

At Pine Flat Damn, which is part of the CVP, water is at 16 percent--about one-third of what's normal for this time of year.

Low water levels at any of these damns could set off a domino effect.

"There would be thousands upon thousands of acres that would be left unplanted, and we would see food production probably cease, economic impact would be loss, and it would just be extremely detrimental to our area," Holman said.

Meanwhile state leaders look to what they can change.

"We're all working together to look for operational efficiencies, and maybe some regulatory streamlining that helps us over the short term, squeeze some additional water out of the system," Laird said.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will decide preliminary water allocations in January.

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