The recent downpour of rain over the last several weeks has allowed the DWR to increase water delivery for the year.
Public water agencies under the state water project that serves nearly 30 million Californians will now get 30 percent of requested water supplies, up from the initial 5 percent announced on December 1st. A major water source to these communities and farms in the Central Valley, South Bay Area, and Southern California is diverted water from the Feather River through a 444-mile-long Aqueduct. With the 9 atmospheric rivers bringing trillions of gallons of water into the state, The SWP’s two largest reservoirs (Oroville and San Luis) have together gained nearly 2 million acre-feet of water in storage, allowing for the increase in allocations. The DWR has not taken into account the sierra snowpack yet; the department will conduct snow surveys over the next few months that could lead to a more significant allocation.
Although the announcement was widely welcomed, it has raised frustrations among many on related issues, like the failure to move forward with water storage proposals and continuing flows to the ocean. Assemblyman Vince Fong, whose district covers Kern County, the largest water recipient from the state water project, says The Governor must invest in necessary water infrastructure. Streamlining permits to allow for state and local officials to break ground on long-overdue projects, and prioritize funding for water storage and flood protection.
Two more months remain for the state’s wet season, and concerns that drier, warmer temperatures could affect the runoff from the stacked sierra snowpack.