Making Storage Work
May 16, 2013
By Nancy Vogel
California Department of Water Resources
In the last generation, an amount of water storage roughly equivalent to twice the capacity of Lake Shasta, California’s biggest reservoir, has been developed south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. That includes nearly five million acre-feet of groundwater storage in Kern County and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s 810,000 acre-foot Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County.
This storage makes it possible for California to hold ample supplies captured in wet years to help withstand dry cycles. But California needs a better way to capture water when it is available.
San Luis Reservoir is the largest storage facility south of the Delta that is connected to the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. A full San Luis is essential to making the rest of the south-of-Delta storage system work. Replenishing groundwater banks is a slow and steady process, so “parking” supplies temporarily behind San Luis is the key first step in the south-of-Delta storage process.
But in the last few years, the ability of water project operators to fill San Luis has degraded from roughly 80 percent to 20 percent.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is designed to achieve the co-equal goals of providing for the conservation and management of aquatic and terrestrial species, including the restoration and enhancement of ecological functions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and improving current water supplies and the reliability of water supply delivery conveyed through the State Water Project (SWP) and the Central Valley Project (CVP). Learn more. . .