Atmospheric Rivers Lift Reservoirs and Water Allocation in California

After multiple years of drought and 0% allocations for agricultural users, it isn’t just ski bums that are happy with the levels of snowpack in the Sierras this year. Last month, after historic rains and snows drenched California over the winter, The Department of Water Resources announced an increase in forecasted State Water Project deliveries this year up to 35% of requested water supplies. This matches the United States Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project’s South of Delta allocation for agricultural use of 35%.

The USBR also increased allocations across the board, including Friant, allocating 100% of their Class 1 contracted acre-feet of 800,000 acre-feet and 20% of their Class 2 contracted acre-feet of 1,401,475 acre-feet; totaling 1,080,295 acre-feet allocated for 2023. In 2022 Friant received only 241,600 acre-feet or 30% of their Class 1 contract. The increase in surface water supply this year should help famers deal with the fallout from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act at least for this year.