California Water Managers Increase Allocations

May 28, 2009
Boosted allocations are a result of spring rains and final snowpack survey

Water managers recently increased water allocations in California to account for spring rains and a final snowpack survey for the season that found capacity was 66% of normal in the Sierra Nevada at the end of April.

According to the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the Folsom and Shasta reservoirs, exports from the American River would be able to meet 100% of contracted delivery to farms in the northern Central Valley. The Folsom reservoir to the east of Sacramento is cresting at 96% of capacity because of prior restrictions and higher-than-normal precipitation in early May.

Contractors who receive their water from the more northern Mount Shasta region, whose reservoir is 70% full, will receive 75% of contracted deliveries, the bureau said. Farmers farther to the south will continue to get 10% of their historical allocation.

At the state level, the Department of Water Resources announced an increase from 30% of normal to 40%. The department's director, Lester Snow, said this should not be viewed as an end to three straight years of drought.

"Governor Schwarzenegger's statewide drought declaration remains in effect, and all Californians must heed his call to reduce their water use," Snow said.

Source: E&E News PM