SACRAMENTO, Calif. November 30, 2017 – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced an initial water allocation of 15 percent for most State Water Project (SWP) contractors for the 2018 calendar year. That allocation will likely change depending on rain and snowfall received this winter.
“It’s hard to know what mother nature will have in store for us this year, but it’s safe to say California is in a better place than we were during the recent drought,” said DWR Director Grant Davis. “Planning for the year and providing more accurate early estimates for water managers so they can better plan for the year is just one of the many reasons the state needs to improve our forecasting ability.”
The state’s major reservoirs are currently holding much more than their historical averages. Shasta Lake north of Redding, the federal Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, now holds 3.2 million acre-feet (AF), 71 percent of its 4.5-million AF capacity and 119 percent of its historical average. San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta storage facility for both the SWP and CVP, now holds 1.5 million AF, 74 percent of its 2 million AF capacity and 124 percent of its historical average for the date. New Melones now holds 83 percent of its 2.4 million AF capacity and 148 percent of its average for this date. Lake Oroville however, currently holds 59 percent of its historical average this time of year. Water was released beginning in spring to provide adequate flood protection during reconstruction of the main spillway.
Last year, the Department’s initial allocation was 20 percent. By the end of Water Year 2017, allocations reached 85 percent due to the abundant rainfall during the year. During the recent drought, the initial allocation was as low as 5 percent in 2014.
Nearly all areas served by the SWP have sources of water other than the allocation, among them streams, groundwater, and local reservoirs. DWR is hopeful that today’s SWP allocation, made before the wettest months, will increase as storms bring rain and snow to the state.
Historical December 1 Allocations:
2017: 20 percent
2016: 10 percent
2015: 10 percent
2014: 5 percent
2013: 30 percent
2012: 60 percent
2011: 25 percent
2010: 5 percent
2009: 15 percent
2008: 25 percent
2007: 60 percent
DWR’s California Data Exchange Center website shows current water conditions at the state’s largest reservoirs and weather stations.