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El Nino winters tend to be wet but there can also be dry ones and the Department of Water Resources never gambles on the possibility of rain when allocating water

It may be an El Nino year, but the State Department of Water Resources is playing it safe when it comes to water allocation. CapRadio's Mike Hagerty has the story.

El Nino winters tend to be wet—but there have been dry ones, and two months into the water year, California has not seen a lot of precipitation. Department of Water Resources Deputy Director Ted Craddock says that's why his agency is only granting ten percent of requests.

Craddock: "You know, there's a range of possibilities for this coming water year—from dry to wet. It's important that we continue to plan as managers of water supply for a return of dry conditions."

In an average year, DWR provides 2-point-3 million acre-feet of water to 29 agencies.

It can update its allocations over the course of the water year, as conditions change, but it never gambles on the possibility of rain.

Craddock: "We started at a low allocation last year and then late December through January, February and March, we actually had very wet conditions and our allocation increased to 100 percent allocation."

Craddock says the past few years have included some of the driest and wettest on record. He says that just illustrates why the DWR needs to be cautious in its allocations, and why Californians should find ways to conserve, even in wet years.