DWR Announces Initial SWP Allocation of 5%

  • by Department of Water Resources
  • Dec 2, 2022
  • Water News

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) on Dec. 1 announced an initial State Water Project (SWP) allocation of 5 percent of requested supplies for 2023. The SWP provides water to 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians.

As the state prepares for a fourth dry year and continued extreme drought conditions in California, DWR will also assess requests for additional water that may be necessary for health and safety including minimum domestic, sanitation, and fire suppression needs.

“This early in California’s traditional wet season, water allocations are typically low due to uncertainty in hydrologic forecasting. But the degree to which hotter and drier conditions are reducing runoff into rivers, streams and reservoirs means we have to be prepared for all possible outcomes,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.

Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s largest reservoir, ended Water Year 2022 about 400,000 acre-feet higher than the previous year, which was the lowest storage level on record.  However, Oroville remains just 55 percent of average for this time of year.

DWR is conserving existing storage in Lake Oroville in the event dry conditions continue. The initial 5 percent allocation would be met by flows from winter storms entering the Delta as well as stored water in San Luis Reservoir. If storage levels in Lake Oroville improve as the wet season progresses, DWR will consider increasing the allocation if warranted. DWR is also working closely with senior water rights holders on the Feather River downstream of Lake Oroville to monitor conditions and assess water supply availability should dry weather persist.

“We are in the dawn of a new era of State Water Project management as a changing climate disrupts the timing of California’s hydrology, and hotter and drier conditions absorb more water into the atmosphere and ground. We all need to adapt and redouble our efforts to conserve this precious resource,” said Nemeth.

California traditionally receives half its rain and snow by the end of January. Water managers will reassess conditions monthly throughout the winter and spring. Starting in February, the assessments will incorporate snowpack data and runoff forecasts. For the second year in a row, DWR is broadening the deployment of more sophisticated technologies, such as aerial snow surveys, that can collect snow measurements farther upslope of the Sierra Nevada. This will improve forecasts of spring runoff into reservoirs.

Water managers will be monitoring how the wet season develops and whether further actions may be necessary later in the winter. If dry conditions persist, DWR may also pursue submission of a Temporary Urgency Change Petition (TUCP) and re-installation of the West False River Emergency Drought Salinity Barrier in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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 and runoff information is assessed, with a final allocation typically determined in May or June.

The lowest initial SWP allocation was zero percent on December 1, 2021, with limited water designated only for any unmet human health the safety needs. Last year’s final allocation was 5 percent plus unmet health and safety needs. Four of the 29 State Water Contractors ultimately requested and received additional health and safety water supply.

Resources

Latest on California’s Drought Response

Current Statewide Reservoir Conditions

Save Our Water: Tips to Conserve Water During a Drought

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
ACWA-Sponsored SB 23 (Caballero) Fact Sheet

California is in a race against climate change. As the wets get wetter and dries get drier, our water systems […]

2023 Winter Drought Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Regulatory Roundup

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

CAFWA Letter: 2023-24 Wildfire and Forest Resilience State Budget Allocations

To: Governor Gavin Newsom Subject: 2023-24 Wildfire and Forest Resilience State Budget Allocations Letter excerpt: On behalf of the California Forest […]

Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program Round 2 Draft Guidelines

Agency: California Department of Conservation Subject: Comment Letter – Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program Round 2 Draft Guidelines Letter excerpt: The […]

ACWA Scholarship Toolkit for 2023-’24

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA and CMUA Comment Letter on Lead and Copper Rule Improvements

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Improvements […]

Cross-Connection Control Policy Handbook

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Cross-Connection Control Policy Handbook Letter excerpt: The California Water Association (CWA), Association of California […]

QuenchCA Campaign Videos Available Now

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Draft Assumptions and Estimates for California Water Plan Update 2023

Agency: Department of Water Resources Subject: Draft Assumptions and Estimates for California Water Plan Update 2023 Letter excerpt: The Association of […]

2022 Summary of Appellate Cases

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

2022 Summary of Legislation

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Designation of PFOA and PFOS as CERCLA Hazardous Substances

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subject: Designation of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) as CERCLA Hazardous Substances; EPA-HQ-OLEM-2019-0341 […]

2021-’22 Water Resilience Funding Sheet

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comments on Draft Racial Equity Action Plan

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Draft Racial Equity Action Plan Letter excerpt: The Association of California Water Agencies […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
DWR Awards $46 Million for Drought Relief Projects

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced grant awards to nine projects in six counties through the Urban […]

Second Snow Survey Reflects Boost from Atmospheric Rivers

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today conducted the second snow survey of the season at Phillips Station. […]

California Water Agencies Submit Colorado River Framework to Bureau

Proposal Outlines Constructive Approach to Achieve Necessary Water Use Reductions through 2026 to Protect Critical Infrastructure, Prioritize Public Health and […]

West Basin Director Desi Alvarez to Serve on Metropolitan Board

CARSON – At the January meeting of the West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors, the board unanimously elected […]

Regional Water Leader Brian Bowcock Honored for Public Service

ROWLAND HEIGHTS – The Rowland Water District (RWD) Board of Directors signed a resolution honoring Brian Bowcock for two decades […]

MWDOC’S Annual Water Awareness Poster Contest Underway

ORANGE COUNTY – The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) is now accepting entries for the 2023 MWDOC Water Awareness […]

Water Authority Welcomes New MWD Board Chair Adán Ortega

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today welcomed Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board Chair Adán […]

Water Sale Collaboration Leads to Increased Local Supplies

BEAUMONT – In a move to further safeguard the region’s water supply, San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (SGPWA) conducted a […]

ACWD Teams Up with Students to Reduce Tri-City Area Outdoor Water Use

Climate change is here, and the Alameda County Water District is partnering with students to educate customers about landscaping options […]

DWR Approves GSPs for Four Northern California Basins

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced today the approval of groundwater sustainability plans for four groundwater basins – […]

Storms Allow SWP to Increase Expected 2023 Deliveries to 30%

SACRAMENTO –The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced that recent storms will allow the State Water Project (SWP) to […]

Scott Houston to Serve as West Basin Board Member

CARSON – At the regular meeting of the West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors on Monday, January 23, […]

Zone 7 Director to Serve Second Term as Chair of Los Vaqueros Reservoir JPA

CONCORD – Angela Ramirez Holmes of the Zone 7 Board of Directors will serve a second term as Chair of […]

State Water Board Issues New Drought and Conservation Reporting Order

The State Water Resources Control Board on Jan. 1 issued a “Drought & Conservation Technical Reporting Order” that requires all […]

Joel Metzger Receives John P. Fraser Water Leaders Fellowship

The Association of California Water Agencies is excited to announce that Utica Water and Power Authority General Manager Joel Metzger […]