The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced an allocation reduction for the State Water Project (SWP). Initially, the allocation announced in December was for 10 percent of requested supplies for the 2021 water year. DWR has now lowered the allocation to five percent. The new allocation amounts to 210,266 acre-feet of water that is to be distributed among 29 SWP contractors. DWR has indicated that the reduction is in response to the ongoing drought conditions California is experiencing.
“We are now facing the reality that it will be a second dry year for California and that is having a significant impact on our water supply,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a press release. “The Department of Water Resources is working with our federal and state partners to plan for the impacts of limited water supplies this summer for agriculture as well as urban and rural water users. We encourage everyone to look for ways to use water efficiently in their everyday lives.”
Water users in California were also recently warned about the dry conditions potentially affecting water supplies moving forward. The State Water Resources Control Board recently issued notices to approximately 40,000 farmers, municipal officials, and others, warning of potential water supply shortages. Water rights holders were encouraged to increase water conservation measures and reduce irrigated acreage.
Dry Conditions Also Affect Central Valley Project
While Central Valley Project contractors have yet to receive an allocation reduction, their allotments will be delayed. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that South-of-Delta water service contractors will not be receiving their allotments until a later date. In a news release, Westlands Water District general manager Tom Birmingham expressed appreciation for the allocation remaining at five percent.
“Given extraordinary dry conditions this water year, Reclamation’s announcement represents a balanced, prudent approach that ensures it can fulfill both its regulatory and contractual obligations for water from the Central Valley Project,” said Birmingham. “We recognize the challenge presented by the ongoing drought conditions, and we remain committed to working with partners at the federal, state, and local levels to find sensible approaches that reduce harm to people in rural areas and California’s important ecosystems by maximizing the beneficial use every drop of water available.”