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SACRAMENTO, Calif. February 20, 2019 – As a result of improved water supply conditions, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced an increase in 2019 State Water Project (SWP) allocations. SWP contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are set to receive 35 percent of their requests for the 2019 calendar year, up from 15 percent allocation announced last month. Allocations are reviewed monthly based on snowpack and runoff information and are typically finalized by May.
“Recent storms boosted California’s snowpack and total precipitation well above average, which allows us to have a more abundant water supply allocation,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Although we’ve got more water in the system now, we must always manage our precious resources with tomorrow’s climate uncertainties in mind.”
Statewide, the Sierra snowpack is 146 percent of average for this date. Most of the state’s major reservoirs are at or above their historical averages for this time of year. Lake Oroville, the SWP’s largest reservoir, is currently at 53 percent of capacity and 78 percent of average for this time of year. It has been managed conservatively to provide additional flood capacity to ensure public safety as work continues on the spillways. Shasta Lake, the Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, is at 74 percent of capacity and 105 percent of average. San Luis Reservoir, the largest off-stream reservoir in the United States where water is stored for the SWP and CVP, is at 93 percent of capacity and 112 percent of average. In Southern California, SWP’s Castaic Lake is 94 percent of average.
Reservoir storage, snowpack, precipitation, and releases to meet local deliveries are among several factors used in determining allocations.
DWR transports SWP water to 29 SWP contractors which serve more than 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. The 2019 allocation of 35 percent amounts to 1,473,046 acre-feet of water.