A wet April enabled the Bureau of Reclamation to bump irrigation deliveries to west-side Central Valley Project growers by 5% to 20% of their contracts, the federal agency said Tuesday.
In addition, Friant Division growers saw their Class 1 allocations also expand by 5% to 60% of their contract amounts. Their water comes from the Upper San Joaquin River Basin.
Welcome News for Valley Growers
As the 2019-20 water year has been marked by below-average precipitation, the modest boost was warmly greeted by San Joaquin Valley growers.
“The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority appreciates Reclamation’s ability to carefully strike a balance, given the challenging conditions,” said Federico Barajas, the authority’s executive director. “The reliability and quantity of surface water deliveries directly impact the amount of groundwater that is used to produce the food we eat and the water we drink.
“Today’s announcement of a water allocation increase has positive benefits for California communities and its environment and reduces the reliance on groundwater aquifers in the San Joaquin Valley.”
A spokeswoman for Westlands Water District said the agency was “supportive of the allocation increase.”
Conant: ‘Still Been Relatively Dry’
Reclamation regional director Ernest Conan said that April precipitation in northern California’s American River watershed led to the increased allocation for west-side CVP growers.
“Even with the recent gains in water supply, the year as a whole has still been relatively dry,” Conant said. “Reclamation will continue to monitor conditions and adjust accordingly. We urge our contractors to continue to exercise conservative use of the resource.”
As the water year progresses, federal officials said, 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.