February 20, 2018

Initial Federal Water Allocations for Central Valley Project Announced – 20% for South-of-Delta Ag, 30% for Friant Division

Today, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that most farmers South-of-Delta who obtain water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) should expect to receive 20 percent of their requested allocation this year. Some east-side farmers in the Friant Division will receive 30 percent allotments.

This initial allocation is based on a conservative estimate of the amount of water that will be available for delivery to CVP water users and reflects current reservoir storages, precipitation and snowpack in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada.

“Despite the historic rainfall last year, California’s lack of sufficient water storage forces us to operate on a year-to-year basis. The amount we can store in our reservoirs is not enough to get us through these very dry years,” said David Murillo, Reclamation’s mid-pacific regional director, in a USBR press release. “Given what we know today, and what we see in the forecast, we must be very conservative with our allocation. If this lack of rain and snow continues, we could very well be right back in drought operations. A situation like this really underscores the need for more storage in California.”

Should conditions change, CVP supplies could also change. Reclamation is announcing the initial allocation to the following:

South-of-Delta Contractors

  • Agricultural water service contractors South-of-Delta are allocated 20 percent of their contract total.
  • M&I water service contractors South-of-Delta are allocated the greater of 70 percent of their historic use or public health and safety needs.

Friant Division Contractors

  • Based upon Millerton Lake storage and current and forecasted hydrologic conditions in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin, the Friant Division contractors are allocated 30 percent of Class 1 supplies. 
  • For the San Joaquin River Restoration Project, the current best forecast developed jointly by SJRRP and the South-Central California Area Office now indicates a “Critical-High” water year type.

Eastside Water Service Contractors

  • Eastside water service contractors (Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District and Stockton East Water District) will receive 100 percent of their contract total. 

Similarly, the California Department of Water Resources announced their initial State Water Project allocation a few weeks ago. The initial allocation is set at 15 percent for most State Water Project contractors for the 2018 calendar year, with a caveat that it can change depending on rain and snowfall received this winter.