The State Water Contractors issued a press release announcing that the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has reduced this year's expected water allocations from the State Water Project from 40% down to 35% as a result of a record dry January and February, coupled with a grim outlook for rain conditions in March, and pumping restrictions that were imposed in December and January to protect Delta smelt and salmon. The press release states that recent pumping restrictions resulted in more than 550,000 acre-feet of water lost from the State Water Project and more than 300,000 acre-feet of water lost from the Central Valley Project – water that could have been stored and would have provided an important safety net during this record dry spell. DWR rarely lowers allocation projections. In fact, allocations have only been reduced 3 times since 1970.
"This reduction in allocations illustrates the need for water infrastructure that is flexible enough to capture supplies when they are available,” said Terry Erlewine, general manager of the State Water Contractors. “There is no way to predict the amount of rain and snow we will get each year, which is why it is vital that we capture water when it is available so we can save it for these dry spells. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan will provide this flexibility so water can be captured and delivered reliably to the 25 million Californians who rely on water from the Delta.”
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