Hope for an increased allocation of imported surface water this year dimmed when the California Department of Water Resources notified State Water Project Contractors, including the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, of a decrease in supplies from 10% to 5%.
AVEK received confirmation of that decision in a letter on March25 from Ted Craddock, DWR Deputy Director of the State Water Project. AVEK General Manager Dwayne Chisam cautioned Agency Directors at their board meeting on March 23 to expect a reduced allocation resulting from dry year conditions.
DWR’s letter stated, “Due to the persistent dry conditions, the Department of Water Resources … is decreasing the allocation of 2021 State Water Project (SWP) water for long-term contractors from 422,848 acre-feet to 210,266 acre-feet. Based on the recent low amount of precipitation and runoff, and an assessment of overall water supply conditions. SWP supplies are projected to be 5 percent of most SWP contractors’ 2021 requested Table A amounts, which totals 4,172,766 AF.”
Table A refers to the amount of each contractor’s entitlement at a 100% allocation as described in their contract with the DWR.
The letter explained that the decision to reduce the allocation considered existing storage amounts in SWP conservation reservoirs as well as constraints on SWP operations mandated by the 2019 Biological Opinions concerning species that qualify as protected by federal law.
The letter also indicated that the allocation is subject to revision based on changing hydrologic conditions.
For AVEK, in line with the Agency’s contracted Table A entitlement of 144,844 acre-feet, 5% equals an allocation of 7,242 AF. That entitlement makes AVEK the third largest State Water Contractor in a field of 29 entities.
Supplies stored in AVEK’s water banking program will enable the Agency to meet customer requests this year, according to GM Chisam.