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State To Increase Some Water Allocations This Year

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Sacramento, CA – Nine atmospheric rivers that recently swept through California have state water officials offering up more water allocations to 29 public water agencies and, in turn, more residents.

The storms have increased the Sierra Nevada snowpack dramatically and helped to fill drought-drained reservoirs, allowing the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to release more water. It now expects to deliver 30 percent, or 1.27 million acre-feet, of requested water supplies this year, up from the initial 5% announced on December 1.

“Thanks to the water captured and stored from recent storms, the state is increasing deliveries to local agencies that support two-thirds of Californians—good news for communities and farms in the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California,” said Governor Newsom. “We’ll keep pushing to modernize our water infrastructure to take advantage of these winter storms and prepare communities for the climate-driven extremes of wet and dry ahead.”

State officials are now cautiously optimistic that by early summer, there will be enough water stored in reservoirs and aquifers to help relieve the worst effects of the drought. There are still two months left in the wet season, leaving plenty of time for warm and dry conditions to return. Additionally, many in the state rely on groundwater wells, which take much longer to recover from drought.

Snowpack surveys will continue on the first of each month through May. That date will be used to reassess conditions monthly throughout the winter and spring and possibly allocate even more water. Starting in February, the assessments will incorporate snowpack data and runoff forecasts.

Today, the U.S. Drought Monitor reduced severe drought parts of the state to moderate drought, including most of the San Joaquin Valley, and changed the entire central coast to abnormal dryness, as seen on this map.