California increases water allocation from State Water Project

California increases water allocation from State Water Project

State Water Project Contractors will now receive 15 percent of requested supplies, and increase of five percent over the initial allocation announced by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) in December. This translates to about 200,000 acre-feet of additional water for the 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians.

While this is good news, DWR has said that the increase does not take into account any of the storms that have hit the state earlier this month. Additional increases may be made after reviewing the results of the next snow survey in March.

Currently, the statewide snowpack is 86 percent of average, and 69 percent of its April 1 average, which is considered the peak snowpack for the season.

“We will continue to assess our State Water Project allocation forecast as more storms materialize in February and March.” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “This season is an important reminder of our extreme conditions and shift to bigger, flashier storms and the need to continue increasing the state’s ability to capture and store stormwater when it comes as rain instead of snow.”

State Water Project reservoirs remain above average for this time of year, as the state continues to benefit from last winter’s historic snowpack and efforts to capture and store as much water as possible. Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s largest reservoir, is at 134 percent of average for this date.

Each year, DWR provides the initial State Water Project allocation by December 1 based on available water storage, projected water supply, and water demands. Allocations are updated monthly as snowpack, rainfall, and runoff information is assessed, with a final allocation typically determined in May or June.

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