On Thursday, California declared that the State Water Project (SWP) will receive a full 100% water allocation, marking the highest allocation since 2006. This decision is a result of the state’s active management of water resources to distribute water evenly, mitigate flooding, enhance storage, support the environment, and restore groundwater and aquifers that have been severely depleted due to years of extreme drought. As reservoirs approach their capacity and snowmelt runoff commences, the state plans to increase water deliveries for state water contractors to 100% of requested supplies. These contractors serve 29 public water agencies, providing water to 27 million Californians.
Lake Oroville, the largest reservoir within the SWP, along with SWP reservoirs in Southern California, are anticipated to be filled by the end of May. DWR Director Karla Nemeth stated that the current water supply conditions and meticulous management of reservoir operations throughout this harsh winter have enabled the DWR to maximize water deliveries while simultaneously enhancing environmental protections.
Governor Gavin Newsom said that California is taking action to optimize the capture and storage of water from recent storms and snowpack, thereby increasing water deliveries to 100% for the first time in almost two decades. Furthermore, the state will allocate an additional 5% to specific regions for groundwater recharge purposes.
Since March 22nd, the state has provided 228,000 acre-feet of water to local water agencies for groundwater recharge. An additional 37,000 acre-feet are planned to be delivered next week.