The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has requested authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to grant a variance from Article 52 of the existing FERC license for the South SWP Hydropower Project, FERC Project Number 2426. Article 52 of the existing FERC license provides for the simulation of the natural hydrograph of the Piru,Creek watershed through releases into Piru Creek below Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Dam: Under the existing license, water deliveries are made to the United Water Conservation District (United) through Pyramid Dam into Piru Creek and thence into Lake Piru by 'mimicking a natural storm event. Article 52 in the existing license further provides for water deliveries to United up to 3,150 acre-feet (AF) between November 1 and the end of February through Pyramid Dam into Piru Creek and thence into Lake Piru by mimicking a natural storm event. The Article 52 variance would allow for a one-time delivery total of 8,987 acre-feet (AF) SWP water from Pyramid Dam to United that would be released to mimic a natural storm event. The water release to Piru Creek from the,,Pyramid Reach will occur before the end of February 2020. The release schedule will be designed to mimic a natural hydrograph, including a gradual ramp up and ramp down of flows, and a peak flow similar to a typical storm event for this period. The final schedule for the release will be established with consideration of operational constraints at Pyramid Dam, natural hydrology and the timing of the issuance of the variance by FERC. The duration of the release could be as little as five days and as much as 3 weeks. To support the Article 52 variance, DWR has requested authorization from the State
Water Resources Control Board for a temporary amendment to Condition No. 1 in the
Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification that was previously issued for the South SWP Hydropower Project to accommodate the increased SWP water delivery to United. The proposed increase of SWP water delivery is intended for the beneficial use of addressing critically depleted groundwater conditions within United's service boundary. The release will be completed by February 29, 2020.