Updated Water Allocations for Friant and North of the Delta Contractors released by Reclamation

By on March 24, 2018
State Water Project provides small allocation amount

An updated allocation summary for some Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors and an increase in the allocation to Friant Division contractors for the 2018 contract year was released this week by the Bureau of Reclamation. The newest allocation information includes contractors throughout the Trinity, Shasta, Sacramento River, American River and Delta divisions of the CVP.

“This winter has been very dry in Northern and Central California, and though conditions have improved during March, the dynamics of the hydrology necessitated a conservative approach to the initial allocations,” said Jeff Rieker, CVP operations manager. “We are monitoring the situation closely. This allocation maintains flexibility to adjust as changes in the hydrology or operational conditions warrant.”

The February initial CVP allocation was hampered by the state’s extremely low snowpack and associated runoff forecast along with the combined uncertainty in the ability to manage river temperatures for endangered species later in the year. Whereas Reclamation was unable to provide an allocation to some contractors last month, the current and earlier March precipitation has somewhat improved the outlook.

Reclamation’s current allocations information as of March 22 is as follows:

  • For agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta, Reclamation is providing an initial allocation of 20 percent.
  • For municipal and industrial service contractors north of the Delta, in-Delta and on the American River, Reclamation is allocating the greater of 70 percent of their historic use or public health and safety needs.
  • For Friant Division Class 1, the water allocation has been increased to 60 percent today, up from the 30 percent initial allocation Feb. 20.

Reclamation has stated that Class 1 water can be managed through storage regulation and delivered at the contractor’s convenience. Reclamation is able to increase this supply based upon improved forecast hydrologic conditions, commercial power operations in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin, current storage in Millerton Lake and continued cooler weather demand patterns. The Class 1 water supply will be assessed at weekly intervals until further notice. Water supply updates are posted at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvp-water/index.html.

Although the precipitation in March – both the rain and snow statewide – has improved the outlook for the entire state, California still lags in meeting the state’s average precipitation average for this point in the Water Year. As the water year progresses, changes in hydrology and opportunities to deliver additional water will influence future allocations.