The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation today decreased the Water Year 2013 water supply allocations for the Central Valley Project, citing the extremely dry conditions in California. Reclamation's announcement is quoted below:
Following a wet start to the water year in November and December 2012, the January – March period is tracking to be the driest on record, resulting in a critical classification for both the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins based on the 90-percent exceedence forecast. Reclamation is announcing a decrease in the allocation for the following South-of-Delta water service contractors:
Agricultural water service contractors’ allocation is decreased from 25 to 20 percent of their contract supply.
Municipal & Industrial contractors’ allocation is decreased from 75 to 70 percent of their historic use.
The initial CVP allocation in February was low, based in part on pumping restrictions needed to protect threatened fish species under the Endangered Species Act; however, this decreased allocation for South-of-Delta contractors is based on the critical water year classification, the projection of reduced Delta inflows this spring, significant loss of reservoir storage to support pumping this summer and water quality permit requirements.
“We are facing a challenging water year, but we continue to look for opportunities to facilitate supplemental water supplies through water transfer and exchange programs and new arrangements that could lead to additional flows in the system,” stated Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “We are exploring all options to assist in alleviating the serious impacts of these drought conditions.”
The decreased allocations have occurred despite recent actions being taken by Reclamation to help shore up water supplies. Some of these actions include the completion of the Delta-Mendota Canal/California Aqueduct Intertie in May 2012 and the securing of water to supplement CVP supplies as a result of the Yuba Accord.
“Reclamation continues working with our partners to find a comprehensive, long-term solution to achieve the dual goals of a reliable water supply for California and a healthy Bay Delta ecosystem that supports the state’s economy,” Murillo said. “It should be noted that the successful completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan would include a new diversion and conveyance facility utilizing state-of-the-art protections for endangered fish species, which would improve water supply reliability even in years such as this, while improving environmental conditions in the Delta.”
For more information on this issue or other natural resource developments please contact Hanspeter Walter or the KMTG attorney with whom you normally consult.