California's Department of Water Resources announced yesterday an initial 5% allocation of requested deliveries of Table A water to State Water Project contractors for 2014.
This initial allocation for the 2014 water year is a significant decrease over last year's initial allocation of 30%, made in November 2012. With the low rainfall and snowpack that followed, 2013’s final allocation only reached 35% of requests. In contrast, the final allocations for 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 were 65%, 80%, 50%, and 40%, respectively. The last 100 percent allocation was in 2006.
“We hope things improve with this winter’s storms, said DWR Director Mark Cowin in a Press Release, “but there is no guarantee that 2014 won’t be our third consecutive dry year. Today’s allocation is a stark reminder that California’s fickle weather demands that we make year-round conservation a way of life.”
Low storage levels in the state’s major reservoirs are largely responsible for the low initial SWP allocation. Lake Oroville in Butte County is at 41 percent of capacity (66 percent of its historical average for the date). Lake Shasta north of Redding is at 37 percent of capacity (61 percent of average). San Luis Reservoir in Merced County is at 25 percent of capacity (42 percent of average).
A copy of DWR’s November 20 press release may be found here, and the notice to State Water Project contractors may be found here.