SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The California Department of Water Resources announced Tuesday that it expects to deliver 5% of requested water supplies to the State Water Project.
The adjustment is half of the 10% allocation DWR announced in December.
“We are now facing the reality that it will be a second dry year for California and that is having a significant impact on our water supply,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in the release.
According to the DWR website, the State Water Project is a water storage and delivery system of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping plants. The system extends more than 700 miles and supplies water to more than 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland in Northern California, the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the central coast and Southern California.
DWR officials said California’s major reservoirs are at 50% of capacity following a below-average 2020 water year.
“The Department of Water Resources is working with our federal and state partners to plan for the impacts of limited water supplies this summer for agriculture as well as urban and rural water users. We encourage everyone to look for ways to use water efficiently in their everyday lives,” Nemeth said.
The 5% allocation amounts to 210,266 acre-feet of water distributed among the 29 long-term State Water Project contractors.
The allocations are based on several factors, such as water in storage, environmental requirements, and rain and snow runoff projections, according to the release.
The allocations are reviewed monthly and are typically finalized by May. In 2020, the initial allocation was 10% and the final allocation was 20% in May.
This year, the statewide snowpack is 61% of average, with the last snow measurement taking place in April.
DWR officials said the State Water Resources Control Board mailed early warning notices Monday to about 40,000 water right holders in the state and urged them to plan for potential shortages by reducing water use and adopting practical conservation measures.
In response to DWR’s allocation announcement, the Regional Water Authority in the Sacramento region and the Sacramento Water Forum sent out a joint statement that read in part:
Since the last drought, when water levels in Folsom and the Lower American River dropped to historically low levels, local water providers have implemented nearly 20 projects—from new pipelines that move water across communities to pumps that can move water in new directions—all designed to strengthen the Sacramento region’s resiliency to drought conditions.
The region is working together to identify additional actions that can be taken in the next few months to reduce the region’s reliance on Folsom Reservoir, protect the health of the Lower American River, and continue to serve the communities in our region.Regional Water Authority and Sacramento Water Forum
The two groups said they are working together on a plan to shift water resources to more groundwater use, share more water around the region, ask water customers to stop water waste and work with state agencies to make sure California’s water needs are met.