California has now experienced its second consecutive dry winter, which has prompted state water managers to reduce allocations to the state water project. The project supplies water to 29 contractors who provide water for 27-million Californians and 750,00-acres of farmland. The state Department of Water Resources announced that it would only deliver 5% of the requested allocations following the below-average precipitation across the state. That number is down from the original 10% they promised in December.
The snowpack is averaging 65% of normal, which has caused many of the state’s major reservoirs to record just 50% of their average water storage for this time of year. The Lake Oroville reservoir is at 53% of average and expects to receive little help from the Feather River watershed, which is experiencing its second driest year in history.
Water managers urge users both large and small to begin conservation efforts and look for ways to save water for the dry summer months ahead. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, who operates the Central Valley Water Project, is making similar allocation adjustments based on runoff and reservoir predictions.