SWP forecast at 15 percent

Although the Central Valley Project today increased its federal water delivery allocation, the Department of Water Resources is unable at this time to increase state project allocations.

“It is clear that both the state and federal water projects face great challenges in delivering the amount of water that our farms, businesses and residents need this year,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We will continue to work aggressively in looking for opportunities to improve water supplies to the State Water Project (SWP) contractors this year, and for long-term solutions to improve water supply reliability for California.”

Poor hydrologic conditions in the Feather River watershed, which feeds into Lake Oroville, is preventing DWR from raising the current 15 percent allocation for 2010 State Water Project deliveries at this time.

The CVP has substantially more water in storage than the SWP, largely due to this winter’s precipitation patterns. Lake Shasta, north of Redding, the CVP’s largest reservoir, is at 104 percent of average for this time of year, and 81 percent of capacity. Lake Oroville in Butte County, the SWP’s principal storage reservoir, is only at 57 percent of normal for this time of year, and 43 percent of capacity.

Depending on how hydrology improves, DWR will increase the delivery allocation accordingly. The initial 2010 allocation, announced in December 2009, was 5 percent of contractor requests. DWR raised the initial allocation to 15 percent in February.

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