State Water Project Allocations Remain Unchanged Despite Recent Storms

Short Title
State Water Project Allocations Remain Unchanged Despite Recent Storms
Water Authority warns low delivery levels make shortages very likely this year
February 20, 2009

The chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors said today’s state Department of Water Resources announcement that State Water Project deliveries will not increase despite recent rain and snow means the likelihood of water supply shortages this year is growing stronger.

“Storms this month have not come close to ending the water supply challenges facing California and our region,” said Claude A. “Bud” Lewis. “Snowpack levels are still well below average, regulatory restrictions on water deliveries from the State Water Project remain in effect, and key reservoirs are still near record-low levels. We are headed toward implementing mandatory water conservation by this summer unless there is a very wet spring statewide. It’s critical for everyone to increase their conservation efforts so we can keep as much water as possible in storage to meet our future needs.”

DWR announced today that severe drought conditions prevented it from increasing its initial State Water Project delivery allocation of 15 percent of requested water demands. Normally, DWR’s initial allocation is very conservative, and increases as winter storms add to Sierra Nevada snowpacks and State Water Project reservoir levels. This is the first time since 2001 DWR has not increased its delivery allocation at this point in the water year. DWR determines its final delivery allocation in late spring.

About 30 percent of the San Diego region’s water supply comes from the State Water Project.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Water Authority’s main water supplier, reported earlier this month there is a 75 percent chance it will reduce water allocations to its member agencies this year. MWD, which plans to make that decision in April, may need to significantly cut back deliveries. An allocation from MWD will prompt the Water Authority to allocate supplies to its 24 member retail water agencies.

Lewis urged water users throughout the county to become familiar with their local retail water agency’s drought ordinance and water use restrictions that would be implemented if water supplies are cut back.

Links to retail water agency drought ordinances, as well as conservation tips, rebates and other forms of water-saving assistance are available at www.20gallonchallenge.com.
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