The storage level in Lake Oroville, the primary storage reservoir for California State Water Project, continues to increase. On April 1st, the reservoir held 3,070,013 AF—which is 87% of the total capacity or 114% of the historical average for the date. As of May 1st it had increased to 3,403,047 AF—which is 93% of the total capacity or 118% of the historical average for the date. The storage level exceeds the 1982-83 wet period (see chart).
After a nearly dry February, March storms brought a deluge of water to Northern California nearly filling Lake Oroville, Shasta and Folsom and prompted DWR to increase the SWP allocation to 60%, exceeding the average allocation of 49% from the previous 10 years (2006-2015), but still falling below the long-term average of 69% from 1990 to current. Despite the increased SWP allocation, DWR warns that “the state’s historic drought is far from over.” The department is preparing for the possibility of a dry 2017.