Despite recent rains and above-normal snowpack, and increasing reservoir levels, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is cautious about this year's water allocation for California growers.
The bureau manages dams that serve farmers in the Central Valley.
Friday, the agency said carryover storage into 2016 was just 24 percent of capacity for six Central Valley Project reservoirs: Shasta, New Melones, Trinity, Folsom, Millerton and the federal portion of San Luis.
Farmers in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys receive water deliveries from the project.
Storage levels in major California reservoirs as of midnight, January 21, 2016. California Department of Water Resources / Courtesy
"On December 30, the California Department of Water Resources held their first manual snow survey of the year and found the water content to be 16.3 inches, or 136 percent of the January 1 average," says Mid-Pacific Bureau of Reclamation Regional Director David Murillo. "With this promising news and El Niño storms beginning to materialize, we are feeling encouraged. However, storage in our reservoirs remains low, and we must be prudent as we develop initial operation plans and allocations for CVP water contractors."
Because of the drought, the allocation was zero percent in 2014 and 2015.
The Bureau of Reclamation is expected to announce what this year’s allocation will be in mid-to-late February.
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