Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DWR Reduces 2012 Allocation to 50%; Reclamation Announces Initial 2012 Allocation of 30%

Two important announcements affecting millions of California water users were made today. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR), which had previously announced an initial allocation of 60 percent in November 2011, today reduced that allocation to 50 percent. And the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) announced today an initial allocation of 30 percent to North- and South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors, while Municipal and Industrial water service contractors are projected to receive 75% of their historic use.

DWR Director Mark Cowin said:
Stubbornly dry conditions this winter give us no choice but to roll back our water supply estimate. We continue to hope, however, that wetter conditions in the remaining winter weeks will allow us to boost deliveries back up.
Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Regional Director Donald Glaser added:
Hydrologically, 2012 is shaping up to be a challenging year. December – traditionally one of our wettest months – ended up being one of the driest on record and this pattern continues today. The good news is that we started the water year with exceptional carryover storage – 9.3 million acre-feet – and storage in our reservoirs now stands at 103 percent of the 15-year average. This storage is the foundation for this initial allocation, and with almost two months remaining in California’s rain season, we continue to hope for improved precipitation.
Today's announcements reflect the low precipitation levels experienced this year in California. As we reported earlier this month, the water content of this year's snowpack is well below normal, and major reservoirs are beginning to show the effects of the lack of rainfall. In November 2011, the State Water Project's (SWP) largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, was at 80 percent of capacity with 2,825,422 acre-feet in storage, or 130 percent of normal for the date. As of midnight yesterday, storage in Lake Oroville had been reduced to 2,543,581 acre-feet, 72 percent of capacity and just about 100 percent of normal for the date. The largest reservoir for the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), Lake Shasta, has fallen to slightly below normal for this time of year and is currently at 69 percent of capacity. Additional information reported by DWR on current water conditions in California may be found here. Reclamation reports water supply information for its Mid-Pacific Region here.

DWR's press release announcing the reduced allocation may be found here. Reclamation's press release may be found here.

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Eric Adair or the KMTG attorney with whom you normally consult.

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