The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced yesterday they would again be increasing the forecasted State Water Project (SWP) deliveries for 2023. With reservoirs nearing capacity and snowmelt runoff starting to occur, DWR now expects to deliver 100 percent of requested water supplies, up from 75 percent announced in March. The last time the SWP allocated 100 percent was in 2006.
San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, which holds water supply for both the SWP and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project (CVP), is now full. Additionally, Lake Oroville, the SWP’s largest reservoir, and SWP reservoirs in Southern California are expected to be full by the end of May. Statewide, reservoir storage is at 105 percent of average for this date.
“Water supply conditions and careful management of reservoir operations during this extreme winter allows DWR to maximize water deliveries while enhancing protections for the environment,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.
California’s other major water supply received an update yesterday too. The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) announced they would also be increasing water allocations for the Central Valley Project (CVP) to 100% for north- and south-of-Delta contractors.
“We are exceedingly grateful to Reclamation, and its dedicated and hard-working staff, for the increased water allocation,” said Jose Gutierrez, Westlands’ interim general manager in a statement. “Following two years of 0% allocations, this announcement will provide much needed water to support the District’s communities, family-owned farms, and hard-working families in the San Joaquin Valley. This water supply will assist growers in Westlands with putting the land to work to grow the food that feeds the world.”
Not only are SWP Contractors getting 100% of requested supplies this year, but the SWP is also making additional water available to any contractor that has the ability to store the water in its own system, including through groundwater recharge. Formally known as Article 21 water, this additional water does not count toward SWP allocation amounts.
Since March 22, the SWP has delivered 228,000 acre-feet of Article 21 water to local water agencies with 37,000 acre-feet planned for next week.