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State Water Project Boosts Water Allocation to 15% With More Likely to Come
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 2 months ago on
February 22, 2024

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California began its water year on a dry note, but the snowpack is improving.

Initial SWP allocation forecast of 10% in December gets a 5% boost Wednesday.

Allocation forecast will be revised in March based on recent storms.


The Department of Water Resources announced a revised State Water Project (SWP) allocation forecast of 15% of requested supplies on Wednesday.

The increase computes to about 200,000 acre-feet of additional water for the 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians.

“We will continue to assess our State Water Project allocation forecast as more storms materialize in February and March,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a news release.

“This season is an important reminder of our extreme conditions and shift to bigger, flashier storms and the need to continue increasing the state’s ability to capture and store stormwater when it comes as rain instead of snow.”

Recent Storms Not as Strong in Northern California

While California has experienced record-setting storms recently, they have been warmer and largely focused on Southern California and the Central Coast.

Northern California, which is the SWP headwaters, has seen less of a benefit from these storms and precipitation there has been below average.

Still, the SWP has increased storage at Lake Oroville and San Luis Reservoir. Lake Oroville has increased 460,000 acre-feet and San Luis Reservoir has risen by 85,000 acre-feet since Jan. 1.

With recent storms bringing more rain than snow, DWR says that it continues to work with local water agencies to capture and store as much stormwater as possible. DWR is also supporting efforts statewide to capture stormwater and use it to recharge critical groundwater basins.

Today’s Snowpack

As of Wednesday, the statewide snowpack was 86% of the average for the date, and 69% of the April 1 average, which is considered the season’s peak snowpack.

(cdec.water.ca.gov)

Water Capture and Delivery in 2023

Last winter, a total of 3.5 million acre-feet of water was captured in SWP reservoirs. The SWP delivered 2.7 million acre-feet of allocated water plus an additional 400,000 acre-feet of supplemental water to SWP contractors in 2023.

To date, Lake Oroville, the SWP’s largest reservoir, is at 134% of the average for this time of year. San Luis Reservoir, jointly operated by the SWP and Central Valley Project, is at 84% of its historical average to date.

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
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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