Central Valley Project Farmers Receive 55 Percent of Water Supply Despite Wet Year

The Bureau of Reclamation announced this week an update to its Central Valley Project (CVP) Water Supply Allocation for the 2011 contract year. This updated allocation reflects improved precipitation and snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas to date.

"Thanks to a steady influx of rain and snowfall in February and March, the CVP water supply is above average for this date," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. "The initial allocation on February 18, 2011, for most CVP contractors was 100 percent of their contract supply. Today we announce an increase for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors from their initial allocation of 50 percent to 55 percent. The South-of-Delta Municipal and Industrial (M&I) water service contractors will also see an increase from 75 percent to 80 percent of historic use."

As the Central Valley Project reaches some 400 miles, from the Cascade Mountains near Redding in the north to the Tehachapi Mountains near Bakersfield in the south, the low percentage of water supply allocation does not affect Turlock Irrigation District (TID) farmers. However, farmers on Stanislaus County’s westside, such as those in the Del Puerto Irrigation Districdt, and those south of Turlock in Fresno County, will be affected.

This updated allocation is based on the California Department of Water Resources’ March 1, 2011, Runoff Forecast, current hydrological conditions and additional information. Reclamation will continue to monitor water supply data provided by the state and will make adjustments to the allocation as soon as they are indicated.
"In this type of water year, a 55-percent allocation for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors, which is below the 20-year average final allocation of 62 percent, reinforces the critical need for a long-term solution to improving California’s water supply reliability,” said Commissioner Connor.
U.S Rep. Denham (R-Atwatear) responded to what he states as “the ridiculous allocation numbers” released by the Bureau of Reclamation this week. Congressman Denham agreed with Commissioner Conner in that the 55% allocation level for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors is below the 20-year average final allocation of 62% and shows the severity of the water crisis in the Central Valley.
“It is ridiculous that farmers will only receive 55% of the water allocated to them in their contracts this year,” said Congressman Denham. “With reservoirs in flood operations and 300,000 acre-feet of water flowing from the Delta into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis, it is inexcusable that farmers south of the Delta are not receiving 100% allocation. 
Commissioner Connor did say, “While there may be opportunities to increase the South-of-Delta allocation over the next several weeks, we remain committed to working with our partners to develop the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan.”
“The Administration’s support of extreme environmental policies has hampered the farmers and families of the Central Valley for too long,” stated Congressman Denham. “The time for inaction is over. In order to bolster the economic growth and create jobs we must get our priorities straight and bring water to the Valley.”

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