California to provide more water to cities after heavy rains

January’s record rainfall and snowfall on the West Coast had a positive side effect for more than 27 million California residents.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Thursday that the additional rainwater will allow the State Water Project (SWP) to increase deliveries to 29 local water agencies this year.

In an aerial view, the Nicasio Reservoir is seen at 100 percent capacity after a series of atmospheric river events flooded northern California, January 12, 2023, in Nicasio, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In December, the agency announced that it would initially allocate 5% of requested supplies to local agencies, but will now allocate 30% of those requests.

“The two largest reservoirs in the SWP (Oroville and San Luis) have accumulated 1.62 million acre-feet of water in storage, about enough to supply water to 5.6 million homes during one year,” DWR said in a statement.

PHOTO: Statewide precipitation deviation from average

Statewide precipitation deviation from average

California Department of Water Resources

Multiple rain and snowstorms left parts of California with flash floods, downed trees and other damage for weeks from late December. More than three feet of rain fell in California during those storms, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains exceeded seasonal averages for snowfall, according to state data.

Extreme drought, the second highest level of drought, in California fell from 27.1% to 0.32% between January 3 and 10, according to the US Drought Monitor. Severe drought, the third highest level, fell from 71% to 46%, over the same period, according to the monitor.

PHOTO: State Water Project 2023 Water Supply Update

State Water Project 2023 Water Supply Update

California Department of Water Resources

“These storms have clearly demonstrated the importance of our efforts to upgrade our existing water infrastructure for an era of intensified drought and flooding. Given these dramatic fluctuations, these storm flows are badly needed to fill watersheds. groundwater and support reclaimed water plants,” said DWR Director Karla. Nemeth said in a statement.

The agency warned Californians to conserve their water use because the state could see a return to hot, dry conditions before April 1, which is the end of the rainy season.

ABC News

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