Feds Boost California Water Supplies

April 15, 2010 07:00 PM
 
By Catherine Merlo, Dairy Today

Federal water supplies to agricultural producers in California's lower San Joaquin Valley have been increased to 30%, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Thursday

As a result of improved hydrologic conditions, the Bureau of Reclamation's 2010 Central Valley Project Water Supply allocations have increased throughout the valley, Salazar said.  

The increase for valley growers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is up from the 25% announced in March.

"For the second consecutive month, we are accelerating our reporting of updated allocations, in an effort to get the best available information to our contractors as quickly as possible to aid in their planning decisions for the upcoming season,” Salazar said. 

Along with the State Water Project, the Central Valley Project is one of California's two biggest delivery systems that bring water from the northern part of the state to urban, industrial and agricultural users in the south. The greatest volume of California's milk production lies south of the Delta. 

"Serious water supply challenges still exist for south-of-Delta agricultural contractors in part as a result of three consecutive years of drought, early water year 2010 dry conditions, as well as operational constraints on the CVP to address water quality and fish species of concern,” said Secretary Salazar. 

"As I announced in March of this year, we are committed to efforts to secure an additional 8% to 10% supply for agricultural contractors south of the Delta,” Salazar added. "We are expecting that up to 150,000 to 200,000 acre-feet can be secured to help supplement the south-of-Delta supplies.” 

These amounts represent new supplies for 2010 not previously available to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

Other announced allocations include:

  • The allocation for Municipal and Industrial (M&I) water service contractors north of the Delta, including American River and Contra Costa M&I contractors, is 100%—up from 75%;
  • M&I water service contractors south of the Delta remain at 75% allocation;
  • Agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta are allocated 100%—up from 50%;
  • Friant Division agricultural water service contractors' allocation of Class 2 water supply increases to 15%—up from 10%; Class 1 allocation remains at 100%;
  • Eastside Division agricultural contractors' (Stanislaus River) allocation remains at 100% of their contract quantities (155,000 acre-feet);
  • The allocation for settlement contractors with claims to senior water rights along the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers remains at 100% of their contract quantities (approximately 2.4 million acre-feet);

Wildlife refuges' allocation north and south of the Delta remains at 100% of their "Level 2” water (approximately 400,000 acre-feet).

Read more at: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Interior-Announces-Increased-Water-Supply-Allocations-in-California-Central-Valley.​cfm


Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at cmerlo@farmjournal.com.


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