The California Department of Water Resources announced that it forecasts the State Water Project will deliver 35 percent of the requested water supplies to the 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians across the state.
The 35 percent is an increase from the 30 percent originally forecast to be delivered in January, an additional 210,000 acre-feet of water to be distributed.
The allocation forecast announced on Wednesday takes into account snowpack and reservoir storage from a series of atmospheric rivers that pummeled California in January, current hydrology conditions, spring runoff forecasts and an anticipation of dry conditions moving forward,
The record breaking rain of January gave way to mostly dry February with less than an inch of rain statewide to this point.
In a statement DWR director Karla Nemeth said, “We’re hopeful that more storms this week are a sign that the wet weather will return, but there remains a chance that 2023 will be a below average water year in the northern Sierra. Careful planning and the use of advanced forecasting tools will enable the Department to balance the needs of our communities, agriculture, and the environment should dry conditions continue this spring and into next year.”
The State Water Project will continue to optimize water storage in Lake Oroville to support environmental needs in the summer and allow for carryover storage for next year if the spring becomes extremely dry.
DWR said the forecasted allocation could also be adjusted back down if extreme dry conditions warrant.
About one month remains in the state’s wet season and the long term forecast for warm and dry conditions until April 1, when the snowpack typically peaks and then begins to melt, is uncertain.
DWR will conduct the next two snow surveys tentatively scheduled for March 1 and April 3, weather conditions permitting.
In Tracy the season total of rainfall so far is at 11.64 inches as measured by the community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network station at a west Tracy location.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from 4 p.m. Thursday to noon on Friday with one to six inches of snow possible at or above 1,000 feet in the western foothills of the northern San Joaquin Valley.
A wind advisory will be in effect through 4 p.m. Friday with winds from 20 to 35
A chance of rain showers is forecast in the valley during the weekend through Wednesday with high temperatures in the low 50s.
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