The Department of Water Resources (DWR) says it's increasing the State Water Project allocation to 15% of requested supplies for 2022.
The Department had announced last month that, because of low water levels, the initial allocation would cover only critical health and safety needs of the 29 water agencies that contract to receive State Water Project supplies. Thanks to heavy atmospheric rivers coming to the state last year, heavy snow and precipitation in the mountains has refilled struggling reservoirs, even though California still remains in a significant drought. The increased allocation will be determined by local water agencies, who have the power to set limits on water use for individual households and farms.
"Water is a scarce resource, and that as we have more people there will be more and more attention on the resource and more and more demands. And my personal opinion is that it will be exponential," Gary Spackman, the director of the Department of Water Resources said. Staffing shortages are already a major issue across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and state agencies are having a difficult time trying to fill openings - the DWR say that because of these vacancies, issues for state water projects are not being addressed.
Governor Newsom's budget outlined more money for the Department, which included $250 million in funds for the American Rescue Plan Act, which would be readily available over the next four years.