The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has increased its allocation of 2008 State Water Project (SWP) water for long-term contractors from 25 percent to 35 percent of requests.

“We can credit a wetter-than-average January for an impressive increase in our water supplies and snowpack,” said DWR Director Lester Snow. “However, tighter pumping restrictions in the Delta will limit how much of this water we can actually provide to many parts of Southern California, the Central Valley and the Bay Area.”

Last year, a federal court curtailed Delta pumping by state and federal water projects to protect the threatened Delta smelt. DWR estimates that the 35 percent allocation would be 50 percent without the court decision actions in place.

To address the need for action to protect the Delta, Gov. Schwarzenegger directed a Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force in 2006 to develop a “Delta Vision” to provide a sustainable management program for the Delta. The Delta Vision was recently submitted to the governor and a strategic implementation plan is expected in October 2008.

The allocation increase will boost State Water Project (SWP) water for long-term contractors from 1,038,861 acre-feet to 1,457,283 acre-feet. Based on recent precipitation and current water supply conditions, SWP supplies are projected to meet 35 percent of most SWP contractors’ 2008 Table A amounts which collectively total 4,165,931 acre-feet.

The 29 long-term SWP contractors distribute water to more than 25 million Californians and approximately 750,000 acres of irrigated agricultural land.

DWR may increase the SWP allocation as hydrologic conditions develop.