Water Allocation Doubles for the State Water Project

Brian German Agri-Business, Water

The water allocation for the State Water Project (SWP) has doubled as a result of the storm systems that came through California in February. The forecasted allocation has been increased to 30 percent of requested supplies. Last month the forecasted allocation from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) was just 15 percent. The revision is based on the latest snow survey measurements and spring runoff forecasts.

Water allocation

“DWR continues to take proactive measures and use the best available science to operate our water storage and delivery system to balance water supply needs while protecting native fish species,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a press release. “As we experience more extreme weather conditions, each year brings its own challenges and that’s why it’s so critical to continue to adapt our water system to build climate resilience.”

California’s overall water storage has significantly improved since the beginning of the calendar year. Lake Oroville has gained an additional 630,000 acre-feet of water and currently sits at 125 percent of the average. San Luis Reservoir has increased by 150,000 acre-feet since January 1. DWR points out that threatened and endangered fish species have significantly reduced pumping from the Delta, limiting the ability to move water into the San Luis Reservoir. On the whole, California’s reservoirs are collectively at 115 percent of the historical average for this time of year.

DWR anticipates delivery of 30 percent of requested supplies to contractors south of the Delta, 50 percent to contractors north of the Delta; and 100 percent to Feather River Settlement Contractors. A possible update to the water allocation will be made following the next scheduled snow survey around April 1. While significantly lower than last year’s historical snowpack, as of March 22 the statewide snowpack is 98 percent of the average for this date.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West