Bureau of Reclamation allocations for their Central Valley Project is a devastating 0% for farmers and 25% for municipal and industrial contractors. For the second year in a row, valley agriculture will receive no water at all, an unprecedented situation. This will inevitably lead to more wells being drilled, further depleting already stressed aquifers. Once aquifers are depleted beyond a certain point, they lose the ability to hold water. If that happens in the Central Valley, it would be catastrophic, not only for the area but for consumers across the country since food prices would rise sharply.
Hundreds of shallow wells in the area have already gone dry. California, alone among all western states, still does not regulate groundwater pumping. (It did pass a mostly toothless law last year about this that will take years to implement. If the drought continues, it doesn’t have years because the damage will already have been done)
The CVP was created in 1933 to transport water from the Sierras to the arid, agricultural heartland of San Joaquin Valley. It works sometimes in conjunction with the California State Water Project to send water hundreds of miles southward through the valley to southern California. The two are water lifelines for the much of California.