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Breaking News: Water Allocation for Friant Contractors Doubles to 60%

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The recent storms have delivered good news for Valley growers. The Bureau of Reclamation today provided an initial allocation to some Central Valley Project contractors and increased the allocation to Friant Division contractors for the 2018 contract year.
Friant Division Class 1 water allocation has been increased to 60% — up from the 30% initial allocation Feb. 20. Class 1 water can be managed through storage regulation and delivered at the contractor’s convenience, the bureau said in a news release.

Class 1 Supplies Will Be Evaluated Weekly

Reclamation also said that it would be 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, officials said
“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.”
For agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta, Reclamation provided an initial allocation of 20%. Municipal and industrial service contractors north of the Delta, in-Delta and on the American River are allocated the greater of 70% of their historic use or public health and safety needs.
Today’s announcement includes contractors throughout the Trinity, Shasta, Sacramento River, American River and Delta divisions of the CVP.

Water Prospect Brighten Since February

In February’s initial CVP allocation, Reclamation was unable to provide an allocation to these contractors due to extremely low snowpack and associated runoff forecasts, combined with the uncertainty in the ability to manage river temperatures for endangered species later in the year.
As the water year progresses, changes in hydrology and opportunities to deliver additional water will influence future allocations. Water supply updates are posted at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvp-water/index.html.
 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email