Low Statewide Water Supplies Expected
With drought conditions deepening and environmental restrictions continuing, it’s no surprise that statewide water supplies are likely to be discouragingly low but a late fall 5% initial allocation for State Water Project contractors was startling.
California’s Department of Water Resources said its initial allocation is a conservative estimate of what DWR expects it can deliver as a percentage of the total amount requested by the public water agencies that contract for SWP deliveries. It came after the driest 10-month stretch in California history, a dry spell that has continued into the early winter.
The State Water Project serves customers in parts of the southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California.
CVP NOT ANNOUNCED
Initial federal Central Valley Project supply allocations will not be announced until February although western San Joaquin Valley CVP users and contractors within the San Luis Unit are bracing for what they anticipate will be a zero supply allocation.
Water supplies for Friant Division-CVP users will depend largely on projections of San Joaquin River runoff but very little precipitation has occurred thus far over the river’s watershed.
Water entitlements for users of water from the Kings, Kaweah, Tule and Kern rivers are for the most part based upon schedules involving daily natural flow.
Water officials caution that it is still early in the water year. Early allocations will be adjusted based on mountain snowpack accumulation and rainfall over the winter.
Meanwhile, DWR has established a drought management team. Cowin said personnel and programs such as water transfers are being positioned “to offset potentially devastating impacts to citizen health, well-being and our economy,” including valley agriculture.
Bill Croyle is leading the effort. Croyle has 30 years of experience in water operations, including seven years as DWR’s flood operations chief and 23 years with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.