The Bureau of Reclamation recently issued an update for water allocations for the Central Valley Project (CVP). The amounts are lower than what some growers were expecting after strong storm systems brought significant rain and snow to the state, but the allocations remain better than the 40 percent announced in April 2018.
As of March 16, allocations for service contractors North of the Delta have increased from 70 percent to a full 100 percent for agricultural water service as well as municipal and industrial contractors. Agricultural water service contractors South of the Delta will now be allocated 55 percent of their contract total, an increase from 35 percent announced back in February. Municipal and industrial contractors South of the Delta are now allocated 80 percent of their historic use. The water allocation for Friant Division contractors remains the same as before at 100 percent for Class 1.
“The precipitation we’ve experienced since mid-February has provided a significant boost to the projected water supply for the Central Valley Project this year,” Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant said in a news release. “With the improved CVP storage conditions and the latest runoff forecasts, we are pleased to increase the amount of water allocated to many of our water service contractors.”
The Westlands Water District issued a press release illustrating frustration with the updated water allocations. “For years, we have been told that the farmers served by south-of-Delta ag service contractors received water allocation reductions due to water shortages. But this year, water is abundant,” the release read. “A 55 percent allocation, during a year with snowpack and reservoir levels well above average, further illustrates the extent to which California’s water supply system is broken and how important it is that we find long-term solutions.”