California Department of Water Resources (DWR) notified the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency (AVEK) on April 20, 2023 that its 2023 State Water Project (SWP) Table A allocation will increase to 100%, up from the 75% announced in March. For AVEK, the third largest of 29 State Water Contractors, a 100% allocaation of the Agency’s contracted annual entitlement is 144,844 acre-feet.
This substantial increase results from recent extreme storms, record-breaking snowpacks, and high reservoir levels. As a wholesale water provider, AVEK depends on DWR allocations to meet its customer’s demands, enabling them to provide water to residential consumers as well as business and agricultural users. Surplus Table A water which exceeds customer demands can be stored in water banks, ensuring supply reliability as a safeguard for future dry years. That excess water is also available for supply exchanges with other SWP Contractors, or may be sold to offset Agency expenses.
In addition to receiving SWP Table A water, AVEK is taking advantage of DWR’s 2023 Article 21 Program, which has been referred to as “wet weather water”. This Program makes additional non-Table A water available on an intermittent basis to State Water Contractors when there is ample water in the system, more precipitation is forecasted, and there is pumping capacity. Use of this program results from AVEK’s significant and visionary investments in water storage programs and the infrastructure which supports those programs.
“The recent allocation increase and availability of Article 21 water far exceeds AVEK’s customer demands, creating an excellent opportunity for the Agency to recharge its water banks and save water for future dry years. We are starting 2023 out in great shape but as we know, water supply conditions can change drastically so we will always be looking to the future,” said AVEK’s Board President George Lane.
DWR may revise the SWP allocation up or down depending on the rest of the year’s hydrologic conditions and available SWP water supplies.