The California Department of Water Resources issued this news release today.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today increased the State Water Project (SWP) allocation for 2018 to 35 percent – up slightly from the 30 percent allocation announced in April.
In December, SWP contractors were notified of an initial 15 percent allocation that was later raised to 20 percent in January.
“Late season rain and snow in March and April salvaged what would have been a severely dry year, which allows us to make this slight increase in allocation,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Our water storage is currently in fair condition, but the state’s snowpack is still low, so Californians need to continue to embrace water conservation as a crucial part of our lifestyle.”
The statewide snow water content dropped from 44 percent of average on April 21 to 15 percent of average today. Snowpack accumulation for the year is well below average because warm temperatures brought more rain than snow in the Northern Sierra.
Snow water content and reservoir storage are among several factors used in determining allocations. Most of the state’s major reservoir levels continue to be above their historical averages, but lower in percentage of capacity today than last month. San Luis Reservoir, the largest off-stream reservoir in the United States where water is stored for the SWP and Central Valley Project (CVP), is at 79 percent of capacity. Shasta Lake, the CVP’s largest reservoir, is at 89 percent of capacity. Lake Oroville and New Melones Lake are at 69 percent and 83 percent of capacity, respectively.
DWR transports SWP water to 29 SWP contractors who serve more than 27 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of farmland. A 35 percent allocation amounts to 1,481,685 acre-feet of water.