CA Department of Water Resources to give 35% water allocation to 27 million residents

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CA Department of Water Resources to give 5% increase water allocation to state
Photo credit: Ken James / California Department of Water Resources

STATEWIDE – The Department of Water Resources (DWR), announced Wednesday, an expected 35% of requested water allocation – up from 30%, to the 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians. The increase is due to early gains in the Sierra snowpack.

The department’s 5% increase to the State Water Project (SWP) translates to an additional 210,000 acre-feet of water.

Water officials say that record-breaking winter storms in January gave way to a mostly dry February. The month had less than an inch of precipitation statewide as of last Wednesday.

“We’re hopeful that more storms this week are a sign that the wet weather will return, but there remains a chance that 2023 will be a below average water year in the northern Sierra.” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Careful planning and the use of advanced forecasting tools will enable the department to balance the needs of our communities, agriculture, and the environment should dry conditions continue this spring and into next year.”

The SWP will continue to use water storage in Lake Oroville to support environmental needs in the summer. This will allow carryover storage for next year if the spring becomes extremely dry. 

RELATED: Nonprofit says almond and alfalfa crops depleting California water resources

SWP is a water storage and delivery system that extends more than 705 miles. It is a collection of canals, pipelines, reservoirs, and hydroelectric power facilities that delivers water to 27 million Californians, 750,000 acres of farmland, and businesses.

The state says although more than a month still remains in the wet season, there’s uncertainty about a return to dry conditions prior to April. This is typically when the state’s snowpack peaks and begins to melt. 

The forecasted 35% allocation could be adjusted back down if extreme dry conditions warrant. 

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