With the benefit of above-average March precipitation, Reclamation announced April 21 an increase in allocations to Federal Central Valley Project water service contractors. This water supply update is based on the April 1 runoff forecast from the California Department of Water Resources.
"An increased water allotment from zero to 10% is welcome but does little to change the economic situation faced by our farmers because of continuing environmental regulations that are destroying Central Valley agriculture, says Executive Director Dan Nelson of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. "Today's allocation announcement is the worst April forecast in the history of the Central Valley Project. Almost 300,000 acre-feet of water have been lost to the ocean since the first of the year instead of supplying the farms and homes it was intended to serve. This is in addition to the water that was lost last year due to these questionable environmental regulations.
"The inability to move water through the Delta and into the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct clearly points to a water supply system that was built years ago under operating conditions that do not exist today. The system isn't working for farms, for people or for the environment. It's time to change course before it's too late."
Although the improved precipitation and snow pack have led to a small increase in supplies, difficult conditions remain in the region. These conditions resulted from a third consecutive dry water year, restrictions on CVP operations to protect threatened and endangered fish, and requirements to meet water right permit terms and conditions.
Reclamation has prepared two forecasts: a dry forecast with a 90% chance of having runoff greater than forecasted and a median forecast with a 50% chance of having runoff greater than forecasted. In the 90% exceedence runoff forecast, the unimpaired water year inflow into Shasta Reservoir is estimated at 3.9 million acre-feet. Reclamation traditionally expresses the monthly forecasts as a percentage of the contract total for each of the contract categories. The official allocation is based on the 90% exceedence forecast. The 50% exceedence forecast is provided for informational and planning purposes.
The CVP Eastside Division (Stanislaus River) contractors will receive 18,000 acre-feet of project water.
The allocation for the Friant Division Contractors will be 90% Class 1 water and 0% Class 2 water based on the 90% exceedence forecast.
Reclamation is working closely with the State of California under the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991 to facilitate water transfers through the State's Drought Water Bank and to provide technical expertise related to water management. On a day-to-day basis, Reclamation is exploring every option available under our legal authorities and California water law to help relieve drought impacts on CVP water users, to provide any available operational flexibility to convey and store water, to facilitate additional transfers and exchanges, and to expedite any related environmental review and compliance actions.
More is at www.usbr.gov/mp.