Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced its initial 2017 water delivery projection, forecasting that 20 percent of contracted water supplies will be available to the water agencies that purchase water from the State Water Project (SWP). DWR’s initial allocation is estimated based on current storage levels, regulatory restrictions and anticipated streamflows. The percentage may go up or down depending on actual conditions this winter and spring.
Since October 1, the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains have seen two times the amount of snow and rainfall compared to average, rivaling the region’s wettest year in decades. But this record precipitation has not translated into a significant increase in stored water – runoff has largely skipped storage reservoirs, flowing into rivers and streams that go out to the San Francisco Bay. If California is to recover from record drought, it is imperative that regulators and water managers capture available supplies this winter to replenish the state’s reservoirs and prepare for another potential dry year.
“We are cautiously optimistic, but California can only pull itself out of drought if we are able to capture water during peak storm periods. How we fare in 2017 will depend on how water is managed, operated and regulated in the Delta. Last winter’s storms yielded little water for Californians – a painful missed opportunity for a state reeling from drought. With key reservoirs still depleted, and a potential sixth year of drought ahead, we can’t afford another season of lost water and missed opportunities.”
State Water Contractors
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 25 million residents throughout the state and more than 750,000 acres of agricultural land.