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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
22 Apr 2023

NextImg:California to Provide 100 Percent Water Allocation From the State's Water Project

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will be increasing water supplies to 100 percent for Californians from the State Water Project, the DWR announced Thursday.

The increased water supply comes after record winter storms with heavy amounts of rainfall hit the state and filled up reservoirs, which saw an increase from 75 percent to 100 percent improvement. This increase is the most it’s been during the state’s drought since 2006, according to DWR.

California has experienced long periods of drought since 2006, with allocation dropping to a mere 5 percent last year due to the drought and the lack of meltwater refilling reservoirs.

However, the winter storms seen earlier this year quickly lifted the state out of the drought. Reservoirs across the state quickly filled up to above-average levels with record snowpack amounts, leaving no place dry.

A sign calls for solving California’s water crisis on the outskirts of Buttonwillow in California’s Kern County on April 2, 2021. (Frederic Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

DWR Director Karla Nemeth explained how the company is committed to providing more water supplies to residents after the winter storms in the announcement on Thursday.

“Water supply conditions and careful management of reservoir operations during this extreme winter allows DWR to maximize water deliveries while enhancing protections for the environment,” Nemeth said in a statement. “DWR is moving and storing as much water as possible to the benefit of communities, agriculture, and the environment.”

The DWR also noted that the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County is now completely full, with the largest, Oroville, expected to be at capacity by the end of May due to meltwater coming down from the mountains, the announcement states.

The State Water Project is a 705-mile-long system of canals, pipelines, reservoirs, and hydroelectric power facilities that deliver clean water to 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland, according to DWR.

In March, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that all state water restrictions would end with the SWP allocating 75 percent of all requests.

“We’re all in this together, and this state has taken extraordinary actions to get us to this point. The weather whiplash we’ve experienced in the past few months makes it crystal clear that Californians and our water system have to adapt to increasingly extreme swings between drought and flood. As we welcome this relief from the drought, we must remain focused on continuing our all-of-the-above approach to future-proofing California’s water supply,” Newsom said in a statement.

Jose Gutierrez, the interim general manager for the Westlands Water District, a Central Valley Project contractor serving rural communities around the Central Valley, says the increased water supplies will help farmers in the region.

“Following two years of 0% allocations, this announcement will provide much-needed water to support the [Westlands Water] District’s communities, family-owned farms, and hardworking families in the San Joaquin Valley,” Jose Gutierrez said in a press release. “This water supply will assist growers in Westlands with putting the land to work to grow the food that feeds the world.”

Californians mainly rely on groundwater supplies as the sole source of water, along with the Colorado River Basin, which is a critical water supply source for Southern California and remains in the midst of a 23-year drought, according to DWR.

“Between the water in reservoirs now and the water we expect to get from the mountains for the rest of the year, it’s looking like a good, wet year for California,” Jack Wesley, a water systems consultant for farms and multi-family homes, told the Globe. “Yeah, people should still be careful about using water, but urban and agricultural areas that have been parched for years are going to see ample water for the first time in a long time.”

The DWR urged people to continue using water cautiously, as drought conditions could return due to climate change and unpredictable California weather.

“We aren’t out of the woods yet, and again, people should still be careful, but the state really got a reprieve from all that rain coming down, and we should make the most of it. Along with developing better water use strategies and figuring out new sources like desalinization, we need to look at more dams, more water storage, and better water transport so we can send it where it needs to go during downtimes,” Wesley said.