Hydrologic Conditions: Elsewhere in the Southwest, March 2016

Oroville (03-2016)Lake Oroville

Over the month of February, Lake Oroville, the primary storage reservoir for the California State Water Project, continued to increase and ended the month at 53% of the reservoir’s total capacity or 76% of the historical average level. The storage level now exceeds the 1982-83 wet period (see chart).

Storage in Oroville is continuing to increase in March, and hydrologic conditions have prompted DWR to increase the SWP allocation to 45%. However, DWR cautions that despite favorable hydrologic conditions now, future conditions are still uncertain. The department is preparing for the possibility of a dry 2017. In the more immediate term, questions remain over what precipitation levels will be in April.   (For an analysis of the impact of precipitation and storage level on the SWP allocation, see “DWR Increases SWP Allocation to 45% after More Storms,” this issue).