SWP Allocation Increased to 30 Percent After Weeks of Storms

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Water

In response to improved hydrological conditions, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has updated State Water Project (SWP) deliveries. The SWP allocation has now been increased to 30 percent, after previously being set at just five percent back in December. DWR is now expecting to deliver nearly 1.3 million acre-feet of water in 2023.

SWP Allocation

“We are pleased that we can increase the allocation now and provide more water to local water agencies,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a press release. “These storms made clear the importance of our efforts to modernize our existing water infrastructure for an era of intensified drought and flood. Given these dramatic swings, these storm flows are badly needed to refill groundwater basins and support recycled water plants.”

SWP contractors have not been allocated more than 30 percent since 2019 and it has been nearly 20 years since a 100 percent allocation was issued. The SWP allocation may be updated as assessments of California’s water supplies will incorporate snowpack data beginning in February. So far, the California snowpack is well above 200 percent of normal for this time of year and is a positive sign for water storage moving forward. During a media briefing on January 26, DWR’s Deputy Director of the SWP, Ted Craddock explained that the recent storms already brought significant improvements to the state’s largest two reservoirs.

“At Lake Oroville, we have 2.2 million acre-feet of storage. We have 1.1 million acre-feet of storage combined – State Water Project and Central Valley Project – at San Luis Reservoir,” Craddock explained. “We’re continuing to operate our pumping operations in the Delta where we deliver water to San Luis Reservoir to the maximum extent possible. Today and over the last few days, we’ve been at our maximum pumping from those facilities, which is welcome also for water supply.”

DWR will be conducting a manual snow survey on February 1 and will be reassessing hydrological conditions each month with additional surveys through the spring.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West