(CN) - Approximately 25 million California residents and farmers dependent on the State Water Project will receive nothing this year, but must instead turn to city and town reservoirs and underground wells to preserve dwindling resources.
"The harsh weather leaves us little choice," Department of Water Resources director Mark Cowin said in a statement Friday. "If we are to have any hope of coping with continued dry weather and balancing multiple needs, we must act now to preserve what water remains in our reservoirs."
The water cuts will mostly affect residents of Southern California and the Central Valley.
Gov. Jerry Brown, who declared an official drought state of emergency on Jan. 17, issued a statement calling the action "a stark reminder that California's drought is real. We're taking every possible step to prepare the state for the continuing dry conditions we face."
Brown met earlier this week with members of the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California and at a press conference, urged Californians to conserve. "Hopefully it's going to rain, it if doesn't, we're going to have to act in a very strenuous way in every part of the state to get through," he said
He said: "Don't flush more than you have to, don't shower longer than you need to, and turn the water off when you're shaving or brushing your teeth."
Department of Water Resources records show that 2013 has been the driest year in California's recorded history, with no relief expected in 2014. A snow survey released Jan. 30 by the agency recorded the state's snowpack water content at 12 percent of what it should be at this time of year.
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