Water Series: CVP at 75 Percent

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The Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project started water year 2014 at about 75 percent of the 15-year average. Sabrina Hill reports.
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Thanks to a near-average carryover from WY 2012 into WY 2013 and a wet November and December 2012, the beginning of WY 2013 looked promising; however, January through May 2013 were California’s driest in about 90 years of recordkeeping, resulting in WY 2013 being a challenging year hydrologically. The historically low precipitation from January through May resulted in minimal reservoir inflows when needed most, low water allocations for CVP contractors, challenges managing Delta salinity and early increases in reservoir releases.

The CVP provides irrigation water critical to about 3 million acres of agricultural land in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys and along California’s central coast. The CVP also provides urban water for millions of people and industrial water essential to the San Francisco Bay Area’s economy. Water from the CVP is also crucial for the environment, wildlife and fishery restoration and hydroelectric power production.

As WY 2014 progresses, Reclamation will adjust the allocations, as warranted, to reflect updated snowpack and runoff.