2015 SWP and CVP Delta exports and allocations

2015 Allocations by the State Water Project

On March 2, 2015, the Department of Water Resources announced allocations of 20% for State Water Project contractors, for a total of about 811,000 acre feet of Delta exports.

SWP 2015 Allocations


South Bay


San Joaquin Valley


Central Coast


Southern California





The South Bay, Central Coast, and Southern California allocations are to urban water agencies. The State Water Project is also supplying 226,711 acre feet to agricultural water agencies in the San Joaquin Valley, about 27% of the total. The chart below shows the percentages of 2015 Delta exports going to SWP urban contractors for Health and Safety, to SWP urban contractors for other uses, and to SWP agricultural contractors.



For the 2015 Drought Contingency Plan, the SWP urban water agencies estimated Health and Safety needs of about 330,000 acre feet. The SWP allocations above Health and Safety are needed to meet other demands on Metropolitan Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District, which have been rapidly depleting reserves. The biggest “other” demand for the urban retail water agencies that MWD and SCVWD serve is outdoor landscaping.


Water Year 2014-2015 Allocations by the Central Valley Project

The Central Valley Project provides water primarily to agricultural contractors. The Bureau of Reclamation does CVP allocations by water year, which goes from October 1 to September 30 of the following year. For the 2014-2015 water year, the Bureau announced updated allocations for Central Valley Project contractors on March 27, 2015. South of Delta agricultural contractors, including Westlands Water District, got a zero allocation. The nonzero allocations from Delta exports are below.

CVP WY 2014-2015 Allocations


Urban Health and Safety


Wildlife Refuges


San Joaquin River Water Rights





The Bureau is going to provide a 75% allocation to the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors, who have senior water rights, for a total of 656,711 acre feet. The Bureau also announced a 25% allocation for its urban contractors, for a total of 41,816 acre feet. The Bureau will also provide a 75% allocation for South of Delta wildlife refuges. The chart below shows the percentages going to each use. The largest urban users are the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the City of Fresno, and it is assumed that all of the 25% allocation is for Health and Safety.



Not all the CVP allocations will come from Delta exports. Some of the San Joaquin River Water Rights and Wildlife Refuge allocations will come from the San Joaquin River. Based on deliveries to wildlife refuges in 2013 and 2014, about 80,000 acre feet will likely come from Delta exports, and the rest from the San Joaquin River. Given the Bureau’s March 26 proposed operations, one can estimate the total 2014-2015 Delta exports, and the share to urban and agricultural contractors.



The Central Valley Project has only pumped about 55% of its forecast total exports, so this estimate could change, and the proposed operations plan is still under review by the State Water Resources Control Board, so this estimate could change.


Total SWP and CVP Delta Export Allocations

While the Bureau’s allocation goes by water year and the State Water Project’s Allocation goes by calendar year, one can get a reasonable estimate of the share of Delta exports going to urban and agricultural contractors by totaling the announced allocations for each project. This gives the following total:




The numbers above don’t include pumping of water transfers by the State Water Project, which will likely be mostly for urban use this year.

These estimates show that both the use Delta exports is significantly different than the statewide averages of 80% agriculture and 20% urban. For 2015, use of Delta exports by urban water agencies may actually be greater than that of agricultural water agencies.

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