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Study: California allocates more surface water than it owns




A third of Southern California's water comes from the Bay Delta, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers merge, and where water from the north of the state mixes with water that meets in the San Francisco Bay.
A third of Southern California's water comes from the Bay Delta, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers merge, and where water from the north of the state mixes with water that meets in the San Francisco Bay.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

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California has given away rights to five times more surface water than the state actually has. How much water is that? Just about enough to fill Lake Tahoe 2 1/2 times.

That's according to a new study from University of California researchers that is the first comprehensive review of how much water the state has allocated, relative to the actual supply.

Ted Grantham, a USGS research biologist who led the study, offers recommendations for what needs to be done to fix California's broken water-rights allocation system.