Reclamation Announces Updates for Central Valley Project South-of-Delta Allocations

By on May 26, 2019
State Water Project provides small allocation amount

Unusual rain and snow in California have been both a blessing and a curse depending on where you’re located and other circumstances. But for those people and businesses dependent on spring run-off from Northern California for their livelihood and personal lives, the recent update from the Bureau of Reclamation regarding Central Valley Project (CVP) South-of-Delta allocations is welcome news.

The most recent Reclamation update reflects ongoing water supply improvements due to the latest series of storms and storage at Reclamation’s dams and reservoirs. Specifically, South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors’ allocations have been increased to 70 percent of their contract total versus last month’s 65 percent of their contract total. Allocations for municipal and industrial contractors’ South-of-Delta have been increased to 95% of their historic use; this group’s allocation amount was 90 percent of their historic use last month.

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 14. (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.

The storms experienced in the Central Valley during the past week are unusual this late in the year, bringing the month’s precipitation to over twice its average,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. “The late storms provided an added boost to the already above average precipitation for 2019. Snowpack throughout the state is still about 150% of average for this time of year.”

Although this year’s abundant precipitation has allowed Reclamation to meet full allocations for most CVP water users, and near-full allocations for other contractors, Reclamation has faced ongoing challenges in providing higher allocations for South-of-Delta water service contractors in recent decades due, in part, to regulatory restrictions. Threatened and endangered species’ requirements, storage limitations and lost conveyance capacity from land subsidence pose challenges on Reclamation’s ability to export water South-of-Delta.

Reclamation continues its efforts to improve its ability to meet the water supply needs of the CVP in an environmentally and economically sound manner. Several efforts, as directed by the October 2018 Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West, are underway including plans to develop new biological opinions for the long-term coordinated operations of the CVP and the State Water Project.