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State water deliveries up

May 20, 2009 |  4:06 pm


State water deliveries are going up again.

The Department of Water Resources announced today that it will give State Water Project contractors 40% of what they requested this year. While that figure remains low, it is far more than earlier delivery forecasts, which started at 15% and then rose to 20% and 30%.

“Early May snow and rain improved the water supply situation enough to allow this modest expansion,” said department director Lester A. Snow. But he cautioned that the state's three-year drought was not over. "Gov. Schwarzenegger’s statewide drought declaration remains in effect and all Californians must heed his call to reduce their water use.”

As of May 1, statewide precipitation and reservoir storage were 80% of average for the date. Runoff was 60% of the norm.

Urban Southern California gets about a third of its water from the state system, which pipes supplies south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta east of San Francisco.

Agencies rarely get their full contract amounts from the state. But below average precipitation and environmental restrictions on delta pumping have sharply cut this year's deliveries, prompting Southland water agencies to adopt conservation measures and price hikes.

--Bettina Boxall

Photo: The California Aqueduct carries water more than 400 miles from Northern to Southern California. Credit: Dale Kolke / Associated Press