We’ve had a good couple of precipitation years now in California, so our water supply picture is quite good. That fact — along with the recent certification exam and the Thanksgiving holiday — has put water supply updates on the “back burner” lately. But let’s remedy that today.
If you take a look at the storage in Lake Oroville, you will see that our supply picture is fabulous, but we might have another issue to address. See:
The other issue: storage will need to be reduced in order to save room for flood control! Our reservoirs serve many functions in addition to water supply storage, and flood control is high on that list. Looking at the overall storage situation, you can see that, entering the rainy season of December – March, there isn’t much room to handle flood water. See:
On November 18, the California Department of Water Resources announced their initial “allocation” for 2012. If you recall from our previous water supply updates, the allocation is the percentage of water you have requested that the DWR expects to be able to deliver. Last year, the initial allocation was only 25%. Following the record rainy season of last year, the final allocation was still only 80%. I commented a few times last Spring that I was certain that would get increased to 100% — but it never was.
This coming year’s initial allocation is 60% — the highest since the 70% of 1997! And looking at the graphs, you can see why: we’ve got too much water in our reservoirs to handle flood control. Expect to see the allocation increase each month during the Winter and Spring, depending on actual precipation and weather conditions.
I don’t envy DWR the task of predicting weather a few months into the future — it’s a daunting task. Perhaps the IPCC folks could help them out, since they’re such “experts” in global climate? I wouldn’t bet Al Gore’s private jet on that!