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California Drought--Are We Ready for the Next One
Author: William O. Maddaus
Date: 10/88
Presented at California-Nevada Section, AWWA, Monterey, California, October 25, 1998

The winter of 1986-87 provided record low amounts of runoff in many of the watersheds that serve as California's water supply. The winter of 1987-88 was not much better. It was only 11 years ago that most of California suffered its worst drought on record. In order to prepare for an apparent repeat of this experience in September 1987, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) asked Brown and Caldwell to assist in developing a plan to reduce water demand during a drought. Shortly thereafter the California Department of Water Resources, acting on direction from the state Legislature, asked Brown and Caldwell to prepare a guidebook to assist urban water agencies in preparing a plan to deal with the drought. This paper summarizes how water agencies can deal with the drought. Although the 1986 drought caught water agencies by surprise, planning assistance, like contained in the state's guidebook, was not available during the 1976-77 drought, so from the advice planning standpoint, we were better prepared for the 1986-88 drought.