DWR Announces Increase to Anticipated State Water Project Allocation

  • by Department of Water Resources
  • Feb 21, 2024
  • Water News

SACRAMENTO– The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced an increase in the State Water Project (SWP) allocation forecast for 2024. The forecasted allocation is now 15 percent of requested supplies, up from the 10 percent initial allocation announced in December. This translates to about 200,000 acre-feet of additional water for the 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians.

This assessment does not include the results of any of the storms that hit California earlier this month. The State Water Project will review conditions and may revise the forecasted allocation in mid-March. The February allocation forecast update takes into account snow survey measurements and data up until February 1 and spring runoff forecasts outlined in the first Bulletin 120 of the season.

While California has seen a series of winter storms the past two months, those storms have been warmer and brought historic rainfall to Southern California. Northern California, the headwaters of the State Water Project, has seen less of a benefit from these storms and precipitation for that region was below average.

The State Water Project has been able to take advantage of these storms, increasing storage at both Lake Oroville and San Luis Reservoir. Lake Oroville has increased 460,000 acre-feet and San Luis Reservoir has increased 85,000 acre-feet since January 1.

“We will continue to assess our State Water Project allocation forecast as more storms materialize in February and March.” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “This season is an important reminder of our extreme conditions and shift to bigger, flashier storms and the need to continue increasing the state’s ability to capture and store stormwater when it comes as rain instead of snow.”

As of today, the statewide snowpack is 86 percent of average for this date, and 69 percent of its April 1 average, which is considered the peak snowpack for the season.

State Water Project reservoirs remain above average for this time of year, as the state continues to benefit from last winter’s historic snowpack and efforts to capture and store as much water as possible. Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s largest reservoir, is at 134 percent of average for this date.

With recent storms bringing more rain than snow, DWR continues to work with local water agencies to capture and store as much stormwater as possible. DWR is also supporting efforts statewide to capture stormwater and use it to recharge critical groundwater basins.

Each year, DWR provides the initial State Water Project allocation by December 1 based on available water storage, projected water supply, and water demands. Allocations are updated monthly as snowpack, rainfall, and runoff information is assessed, with a final allocation typically determined in May or June.

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