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California State Water Project Will Deliver The Most Water Since Drought Began

Curtis Jerome Haynes / Courtesy

Banks Pumping Plant, part of the State Water Project

Curtis Jerome Haynes / Courtesy

California farmers and urban areas that rely on the State Water Project will receive the largest allocation of water since 2012.

The California Department of Water Resources announced Thursday that it plans to meet 45 percent of requests for deliveries.

It’s a major increase from December, when the state planned to fulfill only 10 percent of requests.

  State Water Project Map

Map of the State Water System, a system of reservoirs, canals, and aqueducts that carries water across California.   Courtesy/ California Department of Water Resources

 

The announcement is welcome news to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. But farmers are also hoping the federal Central Valley Project will increase allocations. More farmers are dependent on that water supply. 

"I think if you get up to 65-70 percent of contracted amounts, farmers always have a way to make it work on their farms, by rotational cropping and different things," says Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau. "But for the CVP to have zero and the State Water Project to have 45 percent, we’re a long way to meeting the needs of folks.”

The department says rain and snow have increased water in the state’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville. Lake Shasta has received more than a million acres of water in March.

The 29 agencies that receive water from the State Water Project serve about 25 million Californians and irrigate just under a million acres of farmland.