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Bureau of Reclamation Issues Updated Central Valley Project South-of-Delta Allocations
The abundant rain and snow of Water Year (WY) 2018-19, and the anticipated snow melt to come late this spring and summer, have banished California’s multi-year drought and eased the concern regarding allocations for most of the Central Valley Project’s (CVP) South-of-Delta contractors. The Bureau of Reclamation announced its updated allocations for 2019 contract year on Wednesday. The atmospheric river storms earlier this WY and the continued precipitation in March and early April have allowed for significant upgrades in most allocations.
“This has been a great year for California’s water supply,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. “The increased precipitation has allowed us to increase the amount of water we allocate to our South-of-Delta contractors. Our goal is to maximize the supply available to our contractors in the short term, while continuing to improve the reliability of CVP water supplies in the long run. This is the type of year when additional storage and conveyance capacity would benefit the CVP.”
The CVP Friant Division’s allocation remains unchanged for Class 1 contractors at 100 percent. Class 1 is the first 800,000 acre-feet of available water supply. The period for uncontrolled season deliveries to Class 2 contractors has been extended to April 30. Class 2 deliveries are considered the next amount of available water supply up to 1.4 million acre-feet.
Changes in South-of-Delta allocations include the increase for agricultural water service contractors’ which now stands at 65 percent of their contract total. South-of-Delta allocations for municipal and industrial contractors’ allocations have been increased to 90 percent of their historic use.
All other Central Valley Project’s contractors’ allocations were previously increased to 100 percent of their contract totals earlier in the WY. The snowpack throughout California is still more than 150 percent of average for this time of year, allowing Reclamation to meet full allocations, or significantly increased allocations, for most CVP water users.
In spite of the plentiful precipitation in the Golden State – California’s official state nickname in 1968 – Reclamation is cautious in making its annual allocations. Reclamation has had ongoing challenges in providing higher allocations for South-of-Delta water service contractors in recent decades due in large part to California’s frequent and multi-year droughts. Even in abundant water years Reclamation must balance the demands of threatened and endangered species’ requirements, storage limitations and lost conveyance capacity from land subsidence. Reclamation is currently engaged in several processes to improve its ability to meet the water supply needs of the CVP in an environmentally and economically sound manner.