California increases water allocation thanks to winter storms

California aqueduct
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  • State Water Project (SWP) allocation rises to 40% for 2024.
  • Increase allows for enough water to serve an extra 1.5 million households.
  • Improved snowpack and Lake Oroville storage are key factors.
  • Concerns remain over pumping restrictions in the Delta.

April 29, 2024 –– There’s good news for Californians as the Department of Water Resources (DWR)Opens in a new tab. announced on April 23 a further increase in the State Water Project (SWP) water supply allocation forecast for 2024. The allocation has jumped to 40%, up from the previous 30%. This means more water will be available for the 27 million Californians and farmers who rely on the SWP.

What’s Behind the Increase?

The increase in water supply is a testament to significant winter storms and a near-average snowpack as of April 1, there has been an 800,000 acre-foot increase in storage at Lake Oroville, a vital reservoir for the SWP. This natural boon has significantly contributed to the improved water supply.

Challenges Remain.

While the news is positive, DWR Director Karla Nemeth highlights ongoing concernsOpens in a new tab.: “This year highlights the challenges of moving water in wet periods with the current pumping infrastructure in the south Delta… It’s one more reason the Delta Conveyance Project, which would move water when the flows are high in a manner safer for fish, is a necessary climate adaptation project for California.”

The Delta Conveyance Project, if in place, would have allowed for the capture of an additional 909,000 acre-feet of water this winter.

Allocation Specifics.

The updated allocation means that contractors south of the Delta will receive 40% of requested water supplies, those north of the Delta will receive 65%, and Feather River Settlement Contractors will receive 100%. DWR will continue providing monthly updates on the allocation, with the final numbers typically confirmed in May or June.

Image Credit:

California Department of Water Resources’ news release.  “The SWP California Aqueduct San Luis Canal and the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) Delta-Mendota Canal travel through Merced County. Photo taken May 12, 2023.”


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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