State Water Project Allocation Set at 15 Percent

By on December 23, 2017
Department of Water Resources

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced an initial water allocation of 15 percent for most State Water Project (SWP) contractors for the 2018 calendar year earlier this month. That allocation will likely change depending on rain and snowfall received this winter.

“It’s hard to know what mother nature will have in store for us this year, but it’s safe to say California is in a better place than we were during the recent drought,” said DWR Director Grant Davis. “Planning for the year and providing more accurate early estimates for water managers so they can better plan for the year is just one of the many reasons the state needs to improve our forecasting ability.”

The state’s major reservoirs are currently holding much more than their historical averages. Shasta Lake north of Redding, the federal Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, now holds 3.2 million acre-feet (AF), 71 percent of its 4.5-million AF capacity and 119 percent of its historical average. San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta storage facility for both the SWP and CVP, now holds 1.5 million AF, 74 percent of its 2 million AF capacity and 124 percent of its historical average for the date. New Melones now holds 83 percent of its 2.4 million AF capacity and 148 percent of its average for this date. Lake Oroville however, currently holds 59 percent of its historical average this time of year. Water was released beginning in spring to provide adequate flood protection during reconstruction of the main spillway.

Last year, the DWR’s initial allocation was 20 percent. By the end of the 2017 water year, allocations reached 85 percent due to the abundant rainfall during the year. During the recent drought, the initial allocation was as low as 5 percent in 2014.