California to fill 100% of water requests from cities and farms after wet winter
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After historic levels of rain and snow this winter season, California expects to fill 100% of water requests from cities and farms for the first time since 2006, the state Department of Water Resources announced Thursday.
Because the state’s reservoirs have nearly reached capacity, and the snowpack is beginning to melt, any contractor who needs water, and has the ability to store it, can have it, the department said.
“Water supply conditions and careful management of reservoir operations during this extreme winter allows DWR to maximize water deliveries while enhancing protections for the environment,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “DWR is moving and storing as much water as possible to the benefit of communities, agriculture, and the environment.”
The water supply will be delivered through the State Water Project’s 29 agencies, which serve 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland.
The percentage of water allocation is determined monthly by the State Water Project based on the latest snow survey data, reservoir storage and spring runoff forecasts. The 100% forecasted allocation announced Thursday is based upon data from April.
Last month, the U.S. Drought Monitor found that much of the state is free of drought and abnormal dryness.
While this water allocation forecast is good news for cities and farmland across the state, Northern California is still struggling with its groundwater supply, the Department of Water Resources said.
“Several water supply challenges remain in the northern part of the state and in over-drafted groundwater basins that are slow to recover,” the department said. “Millions of Californians rely on groundwater supplies as a sole source of water.”
The announcement added that the dire state of the Colorado River Basin, which is a “critical water source for Southern California,” is in the middle of a 23-year drought.
“Californians should continue to use water wisely to help the state adapt to a hotter, drier future.”