California’s giant State Water Project, the network of dams and aqueducts that provides water for 27 million people, will significantly increase deliveries in 2023 after a month of “atmospheric river” storms.
The Department of Water Resources announced Thursday that deliveries will increase from 5% of requested supplies to 30% for the water year than began Dec. 1.
Officials said deliveries could increase even more depending on the depth of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, with the next survey scheduled for Feb. 1.
“We are pleased that we can increase the allocation now and provide more water to local water agencies,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.
The state’s two largest reservoirs — Oroville and San Luis — have gained a combined 1.62 million acre-feet of water — roughly enough to provide water to 5.6 million households for a year.
Officials said water from the storm is also being used to refill groundwater basins that have been depleted by drought.
The increased delivery will have minimal impact on San Diego, which gets less than 1% of its water from the state project.
The San Diego County Water Authority has separate supply sources as well as the desalination plant in Carlsbad.
The authority said Thursday it “projects being able to meet regional water demands for the foreseeable future due to the region’s investments in supply reliability.”
“At the same time, it’s critical that residents and businesses continue to reduce water waste and stretch the value of each drop,” the authority added.
And the DWR cautioned that while recent storms have been impressive, two months remain in the wet season and California could see a return to warm and dry conditions.