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Rain and Snow Increase 2010 Water Supplies for Agribusiness

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


From a Press Release

March 17, 2010 - Traditionally, water is in short supply for agricultural purposes in California. But more rains this winter, a substantial snow pack, and improved storage at Shasta Reservoir have helped increase the Bureau of Reclamation's California 2010 Central Valley Project Water Supply allocations throughout the valley. As forecast by Reclamation on February 26, California is having a near-average water year following three years of drought.

Compared to the previous allocation, and using a conservative forecast regarding additional precipitation (generally referred to as the 90 percent exceedence forecast) the agricultural allocations are:

  • Friant Division agricultural water service contractors’ allocation remains at 100 percent of Class 1 water and increases the Class 2 allocation to 10 percent – up from 0 percent. 

  • Eastside Division agricultural contractors’ (Stanislaus River) allocation remains at 100 percent of their contract quantities (155,000 acre-feet).

  • Agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta are allocated 50 percent of their contract quantities – up from 5 percent. 

  • Agricultural water service contractors south of the Delta are allocated 25 percent of their contract quantities – up from 5 percent.

  • Wildlife refuges’ allocation north and south of the Delta remains at 100 percent of their “Level 2” water (approximately 400,000 acre-feet).

“This is good news for the large majority of water users served by the Central Valley Project, but we realize that South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors face serious water supply challenges, in part as a result of three consecutive years of drought and operational constraints imposed on the CVP to address water quality and fish species of concern. That’s why we continue to work hard and make progress towards providing an additional 8 to 10 percent for agriculture south of the Delta,” said Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, in yesterday's announcement.

The Department of the Interior is working in close partnership with other Federal and State agencies, South-of-Delta contractors, and other stakeholders to secure more water for agricultural water users on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. 

Under this initiative, it is expected that a range of an additional 150,000 to 200,000 acre-feet will be secured, or 8-10 percent of west side South-of-Delta agricultural water service contract quantities. These amounts represent new supplies for 2010 not previously available to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.