Justice and Law Enforcement:

California Drought of 1976 and 1977--Extent, Damage, and Governmental Response

CED-77-137: Published: Oct 19, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 19, 1977.

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

With the drought persisting through 1976 and 1977, surface water supplies in some parts of California dwindled sharply, and large quantities of groundwater were extracted to make up the shortage. The drought did the most damage to California's agriculture, especially the livestock industry. Federal, State, and local government response has been generally adequate to cope with the drought.

The State water plan shows that dependable water supplies will not provide for State needs through the year 2000, even if certain conditions are met. These conditions include completion of planned federal, State, and local surface and groundwater projects, as well as reclamation and reuse of wastewater. To compensate, more groundwater will have to be extracted than is replaced. Continued, excessive extraction of groundwater can lead to land subsistence, poor water quality, and high energy costs as pumping depths increase. State-proposed alternatives to drawing more groundwater could make up much of the projected deficit, but whether such alternative supplies can be made available or the planned water projects will be developed is questionable. Substantial federal investment in water resources development will be required to implement the State plan.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should request the State and other applicable agencies, as they consider necessary, to establish a task force to reexamine the State plan to determine the best ways to meet the projected future water demands.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Mar 26, 2014

    Jan 13, 2014

    Dec 9, 2013

    Dec 6, 2013

    Nov 20, 2013

    Oct 29, 2013

    Sep 25, 2013

    Sep 12, 2013

    Sep 10, 2013

    Jul 31, 2013

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here