Recent winter storms provided a small boost in water supplies for the State Water Project, but these gains are overshadowed by the amount of water we aren’t able to capture because of outdated infrastructure. If we had a modern water delivery system in place – such as the pipelines in the proposed California WaterFix – water agencies would be able to capture more water in wet years, to store for dry years. Even under the more stringent operational restrictions that have been proposed, we would still be able to capture more supplies with a modernized system than we can today. The chart below, based on real-time data from the California Department of Water Resources and the United States Bureau of Reclamation, reflects how much water is being exported by the state and federal water projects today, an estimate of how much water would be exported with new conveyance under California Water Fix, and lastly, the total amount of water flowing into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Had a modern water delivery system been in place, California’s water agencies would have received nearly 30 percent more water last week alone. The additional 481,000 acre-feet of water they would have received in 2016 to date would have been enough to serve more than 3.5 million people for an entire year.