Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced today that public water agencies are now projected to receive 60 percent of contracted water supplies from the State Water Project (SWP) in 2016 – a welcomed increase from the previous 45 percent. However, environmental restrictions continue to limit water supplies for people and farms, while showing no demonstrable benefit to Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) fish species. While we’ve been able to capture 1.1 million acre-feet to date this year to serve people, cities and farms throughout the state, California still lost an estimated 1 million acre-feet due to restrictions requiring fresh water to flow through the Delta and out to San Francisco Bay. Capturing double the amount of water would have allowed agencies to significantly replenish depleted reserves and groundwater basins.
“Any increase in water deliveries is welcome as communities throughout California work to recover from years of continuing drought,” said Terry Erlewine, general manager of the State Water Contractors. “We lost the opportunity, however, to store water this winter when it was abundant – more than 75 percent of fresh water that flowed into the Delta flowed out to San Francisco Bay.”
Water agencies haven’t received a 100 percent allocation in a decade, but they are still required to pay for 100 percent of contracted supplies.
California needs to advance a solution that will balance the multiple demands of the Delta. Our inadequate delivery system was also a factor in this winter’s missed opportunity to store water. Had a modern water delivery system been in place, public water agencies could have accessed an additional 486,000 acre-feet of water in January, February and March.
The State Water Contractors is a statewide, non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project. Collectively the State Water Contractors deliver water to more than 26 million residents throughout the state and more than 750,000 acres of agricultural lands. For more information on the State Water Contractors, please visit www.swc.org.