State water officials say they may dam parts of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in an emergency measure to protect freshwater used by millions of Californians.
The Department of Water Resources said Monday that if the drought persists they may build temporary rocky barriers blocking three channels on the Delta. They say the dams would decrease the amount of water released from upstream reservoirs to keep saltwater from creeping inland from the San Francisco Bay, contaminating the Delta.
The Delta provides 25 million people with drinking water and irrigates millions of acres of farmland.
Officials say that despite a wet December no major storms have hit California in January to replenish the reservoirs. Officials considered building the dams last year, but spring rainstorms made it unnecessary.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for California due to critically low reservoir levels and consecutive dry years.