California Water

California Water

Maura Bennett
Maura Bennett
October kicks off a new water year for California and the state has a considerably more water storage than last year.

Statewide reservoir water storage is 128% of average. That amounts to about 29.7 million acre-feet of water for California, according to the Department of Water Resources.

It’s due to that marathon wet winter in 2017 that pounded the state with rain and snow. The 2018 water year was about average, which actually built up the surplus.

Of course that’s good news for California agriculture producers.

“Coming off a very wet 2017. It was great to see our reservoirs refill after an extended drought. We’re hoping that the coming year, this upcoming water year will be as generous for us as the last one was.”

That’s Mike Wade is the Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition. The good water news may be good news for ag producers.

“One of the things that we’re concerned about is allocations that have not seemed to keep up with the water supply but we do understand there are some questions about environmental practices and enough water held over for stream flows and those questions are something that we’ll have to contend with in the future.”

State Water Project water irrigates about 750,000 acres of farmland, mainly in the San Joaquin Valley. State Water Project contractors received 75 percent of requested supplies this year. That was up from an initial allocation of 10 percent due to above-average precipitation.

But Wade’s reference to the ongoing questions about agriculture water allocations for California agriculture is echoed by the Department of Water Resources.

DWR director Karla Nemeth said in a release, “The significant rainfall and snowpack made for a great water year in 2019, so we start the new year in a good place,” “However, we all know too well that California’s weather and precipitation is highly variable. What we have today could be gone tomorrow.

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