Birmingham’s Full Statement about Allocation

Taylor HillmanGeneral, Water

Thomas W. Birmingham, General Manager, Westlands Water District, issued the following statement on the Bureau of Reclamation Allocation announcement:

Today the Bureau of Reclamation announced that the initial water allocation for south-of-the Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) agricultural water service contractors is 25 percent. Although expected, this allocation is very disappointing and exemplifies the issues faced by farmers and other people who rely on water supplied by the CVP and the California State Water Project (SWP).

The ability of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources to move water across the Delta has been greatly hindered by restrictions imposed under the 2008 Biological Opinion protecting Delta smelt. Over the last 60 days, the CVP has lost over 300,000 acre feet because of the limitations the federal government has placed on our supplies. Together the CVP and SWP have lost more than 815,000 acre-feet. This precious water cannot be replaced regardless of what happens in terms of precipitation and runoff for the rest of this year. The loss of that water for federal project water agencies translates into more than 200,000 acres of land that will be fallowed and the loss of more than 2,400 farm jobs. The economic loss to this region will be more than $1.5 billion, all because the CVP and SWP took 230 Delta smelt.

What can’t be reconciled is that when federal scientists conduct studies on the Delta smelt they are permitted to kill thousands of smelt. But the water supply of large areas of the state is shut down because the projects have taken 230 fish. This insanity has to stop.