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State Water Project Allocations Up to 35 Percent, Final Allocations Announcement Expected in May
On the heels of the Central Valley Project’s (CVP) announcement on their most recent allocations on Wednesday, the State Water Project (SWP) also made their second allocation status report on Wednesday. Based on improved water supply conditions, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced an increase in 2019 SWP allocations.
Up from the 15 percent allocation announced last month, DWR has announced that SWP contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are set to receive 35 percent of their requests for the 2019 calendar year. DWR’s allocation (thus far in 2019) of 35 percent amounts to 1,473,046 acre-feet of water.
“Recent storms boosted California’s snowpack and total precipitation well above average, which allows us to have a more abundant water supply allocation,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Although we’ve got more water in the system now, we must always manage our precious resources with tomorrow’s climate uncertainties in mind.”
The state’s abundant rain and snow so far this year has resulted in most of the state’s major reservoirs being at or above their historical averages for this time of year. Statewide, the Sierra snowpack is 146 percent of average for this date.
Reservoirs throughout the state are reporting far different numbers from last year when drought conditions impacted all water availability in California. Lake Oroville, the SWP’s largest reservoir, is currently at 53 percent of capacity and 78 percent of average for this time of year. It has been managed conservatively to provide additional flood capacity to ensure public safety as work continues on the spillways. In Southern California, SWP’s Castaic Lake is 94 percent of average.
Shasta Lake, the CVP’s largest reservoir, is at 74 percent of capacity and 105 percent of average. San Luis Reservoir, the largest off-stream reservoir in the United States where water is stored for both the SWP and CVP, is at 93 percent of capacity and 112 percent of average.
DWR transports SWP water to 29 SWP contractors which serve more than 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. Allocations are reviewed monthly based on snowpack and runoff information and are typically finalized by May. Reservoir storage, snowpack, precipitation, and releases to meet local deliveries are among several factors used in determining allocations.
For ongoing and up-to-date water conditions and storage in California, go to DWR’s California Data Exchange Center website at: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/reservoir.html.