Communities, Growers Will Receive 75% State Water Allotment - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Communities, Growers Will Receive 75% State Water Allotment



Water flows down Oroville Dam's main spillway, Friday, March 10, 2023. The reservoir is at 120% of its water average for this time of year. (Dan Reidel/The Chico Enterprise-Record via AP)
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Communities and growers served by the State Water Project can expect to receive 75% of their allotted water, California officials announced Friday.

In addition, Gov. Gavin Newsom ended some of California’s water restrictions on Friday. The changes follow a winter of relentless rain and snow that has replenished reservoirs after three years of severe drought.

The state Division of Water Resources previously announced a 35% water allotment. The increase amounts to an additional 1.7 million acre-feet of water for the 29 public water agencies serving  27 million residents.

Last year, they only got a 5% allotment as California endured three of the driest years ever since modern recordkeeping began in 1896.

“California continues to experience weather whiplash, going from extreme drought to at least 19 atmospheric rivers since late December. It really demonstrates that in times of plenty, we need to move as much water into storage as is feasible,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We’ve been able to manage the system to the benefit of communities, agriculture, and the environment. It’s certainly been a welcome improvement following the three driest years on record for California.”

DWR said that it DWR now expects San Luis Reservoir in Merced County to end the wet season at capacity. Lake Oroville, the largest SWP reservoir, is at 120% of the average for this time of year and currently releasing water through the Oroville Spillway to reduce flood risk for downstream communities in anticipation of the spring snowmelt.

Newsom Eases Water Restrictions

Meanwhile, Newsom said he would stop asking people to voluntarily cut their water use by 15%, a request he first made nearly two years ago. Californians never met Newsom’s call for that level of conservation — as of January the cumulative savings were just 6.2%.

“Are we out of a drought? Mostly — but not completely,” Newsom said Friday from a farm northwest of Sacramento that has flooded its fields to help replenish groundwater.

The governor also said he would ease rules requiring local water agencies to impose restrictions on customers. That order will impact people in different ways depending on where they live. For most people, it means they won’t be limited to watering their lawns on only certain days of the week or at certain times of the day. Other restrictions remain in place, including a ban on watering decorative grass for businesses.

However, Newsom did not declare an end to the drought on Friday, even though the U.S. Drought Monitor reported this week that much of the state — including the major population centers along the coast and farmland in the Central Valley — is not in drought.

(Associated Press contributed to this story.)


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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