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In an unprecedented move, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced it is increasing its allocation of 2006 State Water Project (SWP) water for long-term contractors from 80 to 100% of requests.
This is the first time since SWP water contractors began asking for their full Table A amounts that DWR has been able to deliver 100% of the requested amounts. A "Table A" amount is the maximum contractual quantity of water that an SWP contractor can request each year.
An uncommon combination of very wet conditions and conveniently spaced storm events occurring later than normal in the year has led to a very healthy water supply.
“The increase in snowpack during March and April has made 2006 a banner year for water supply,” said Dan Flory, chief of the Department's State Water Project Analysis Office. “This is the second wettest March/April combination for the northern Sierra since 1921. We are only two and a half weeks into April, and the precipitation is already three times the average for the entire month. All of the SWP contractors’ Table A requests will be met during 2006.”
Flory added, “While the current snowpack and precipitation are great for water supply, DWR continues to monitor the snowpack for potential impacts to the flood control system, especially along the San Joaquin River.”
Last year, heavy precipitation in the northern Sierra allowed DWR to increase SWP allocations to 90% at the end of May. This year, the state is again experiencing higher than normal rainfall and snowpack amounts.
A 100% allocation amounts to 4.13 million acre ft distributed among the 29 SWP contractors who serve more than 23 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.