California officials say they expect to release a record-low amount of water to some 25 million state residents next year if the drought continues.
The Department of Water Resources projects it will deliver just 5 percent of what was requested from its contractors. The state water also irrigates 750,000 farm acres.
Lester Snow, the department's director, says the state is assuming it will be dealing with a fourth year of drought conditions.
Water deliveries would be increased if more rain and snow falls in the state over the winter months. That's a possibility if El Nino weather patterns hit California.
Last year, the state predicted it would deliver 15 percent but boosted that number to 40 percent by May.