We all know that California is facing an extraordinary drought. This morning’s announcement of federal water allocations through the Central Valley Project is indicative of the severity of our states water supply.
This year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation initial allocation is to provide 25 percent of San Juan Water District’s historical water use of CVP water, half of last year’s allocation. Updated allocations will be announced between now and May and we hope the forecast improves. Combined with access to other water supplies, we anticipate having access to similar amounts of water as last year. These unprecedented cuts in CVP water deliveries highlight the critical need for continued water conservation.
San Juan Water District’s historical use of CVP water is very small, so as a result, this year’s 25 percent allocation is very small. We did not use any of our historical CVP water allocation last year and anticipate not using any this year either.
Last year, SJWD retail customers reduced their water use by 32 percent after entering mandatory water conservation stages in February. This January, customers continued those efforts, cutting water use by 34 percent compared to January 2014. Our board is calling on our customers to continue their significant conservation measures this year.
The San Juan Water District Board of Directors has been planning for continued drought, approving projects that allow the district to access alternative water supplies. These projects, in partnership with Placer County Water Agency and Sacramento Suburban Water District, will be completed this fall. They will provide alternative water supplies for droughts as well as emergency access to water if it is not available from Folsom Lake.
Folsom Lake, our source for water supplies, reached historical lows in early 2014, prompting immediate water conservation measures. Because of warm winter storms late last year, current water levels in Folsom Lake are higher than average – but that won’t last. The latest snow surveys show almost no snowpack, meaning we’ll have minimal runoff into Folsom Lake in the spring and summer. Because of the low snowpack, we will likely see Folsom Lake drop to very low levels this year.
I’m asking all our customers to continue conserving water while the district works diligently to construct projects that secure alternative water supplies. Although we will have the same amount of water overall as last year, the state remains in a dire drought. Please stay tuned for more information from San Juan Water District on our water availability.