The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Friday that State Water Project members can expect a 10 percent allocation of requested water supplies for 2024.
DWR is being very cautious in their initial water supply forecast, basing the December 1 allocation on October and November precipitation amounts, dry soils, runoff, and storage in Lake Oroville, and an assumption of very dry conditions continuing.
“California’s water year is off to a relatively dry start. While we are hopeful that this El Niño pattern will generate wet weather, this early in the season we have to plan with drier conditions in mind,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “California’s water supply continues to benefit from our aggressive efforts last season to capture record rain and snow melt in our reservoirs and groundwater basins.”
Those efforts are why most of the state’s reservoirs are above average for this time of year, including Lake Oroville, the SWP’s largest reservoir which sits at 133 percent of average.
“While we received significant rain and snow last winter that helped replenish severely depleted storage across the state, this fall has so far been relatively dry. We must be prepared for the possibility that these dry conditions will continue,” said Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “Hopefully, we’ll again see wet conditions this winter, and the allocation will increase. But we can’t count on it, yet.”
The State Water Project, provides water to 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians and 1,172 square miles of farmland.