Dry-Year Water Transfers

The Water Authority periodically pursues short-term water transfers to help ensure adequate water supplies for the region, particularly to help offset water supply reductions caused by general drought conditions and regulatory restrictions on State Water Project deliveries. The strategy is consistent with the Water Authority’s Water Shortage and Drought Response Plan.

Short-term water transfers were used most recently in 2008 and 2009.

2008 Dry-Year Transfers

In 2008, the Water Authority implemented an agreement with Butte Water District and Sutter Extension Water District for a total of 23,077 acre-feet of transfer water at $200 per acre-foot.  After accounting for water conveyance losses, transfer supplies were placed into the Water Authority’s groundwater storage account in the Semitropic Water Storage District in Kern County. As a result, 16,117 acre-feet of water was stored for future use.

2009 Dry-Year Transfers

In 2009, the Water Authority purchased 20,000 acre-feet of dry-year water supplies from Placer County Water Agency for $225 per acre-foot, including a call payment of $40 per acre-foot, made available through a reservoir release. The Department of Water Resources confirmed the delivery of 15,520 acre-feet to the Water Authority’s service area after accounting for conveyance losses.

2010 and Beyond

A regional water shortage triggered an allocation of supplies by Metropolitan Water District in July 2009. Due to falling regional water use and the expense of executing dry-year transfers, the Water Authority did not complete another dry-year transfer before the drought ended in 2011. When water supply conditions improved, the Water Authority moved away from dry-year transfers. However, the agency continues to look for opportunities to supplement core water supplies and help reduce the impact of potential water shortages.