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Central Valley Project South-of-Delta Water Allocations Updated by Reclamation
Thanks to May’s late-season precipitation and the subsequent improvement to the state’s water supply, the Bureau of Reclamation issued its most recent update for water allocation for Central Valley Project (CVP) South-of-Delta 2019 agricultural water service contractors’ allocations. Unusual snow and rainfall in May set some new records in Central Valley locations and some mountain regions received more than five inches above normal precipitation. Flood flows from Friant Reservoir and the King’s River have offset supplies from the Delta, prompting the increased allocation for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors’ allocations.
“I am pleased to announce that South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors’ allocations have been increased to 75% of their contract total because of May’s snow and rain totals,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. South-of-Delta allocations for municipal and industrial contractors have been increased to 100% of their historic use.
The wet conditions in Water Year (WY) 2018/19 have allowed Reclamation to meet full allocations for most CVP water users. However, Reclamation has had ongoing challenges in providing higher allocations for South-of-Delta water service contractors in recent decades due to regulatory restrictions.
The CVP Friant Division’s allocation remains unchanged for Class 1 contractors at 100%. However, the period for uncontrolled season deliveries to Class 2 contractors has been extended to June 30. (The first 800,000 acre-feet of available water supply is considered Class 1; Class 2 is considered the next amount of available water supply up to 1.4 million acre-feet). All other CVP contractors’ allocations were previously increased to 100% of their contract totals in recent months.
Reclamation’s ability to export water South-of-Delta has been challenged even in above average water years due to 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. Several efforts directed by the October 2018 Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West are included in these processes such as the effort to develop new biological opinions for the long-term coordinated operations of the CVP and the State Water Project.