DroughtFederal SystemGroundwaterState System

State’s low water allocation prompts frustration, suspicion

 •  by Lois Henry
The 8-station index measures precipitation in the Feather River watershed, the major source for the State Water Project. The historic average by this time of year is close to 50 inches. This year, it's at 27 inches, prompting the Department of Water Resources to stand by a 15 percent allocation for SWP contractors.

Is the State Water Project’s extremely low water allocation based on California’s fickle climate? Or politics?

A growing chorus of frustrated water managers are wondering.

After a dry January, the Department of Water Resources announced it would only be able to deliver 15 percent of contracted water amounts to farms and cities.

That number hasn’t changed despite a spate of storms in late  March and April.

“We’re all just scratching our heads,” said Mark Mulkay, General Manager of the Kern Delta Water District. “We’re looking at snowpacks in the 60 to 70 percent range but we’re stuck at 15 percent?

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Lois Henry
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