The Bureau of Reclamation Wednesday issued updated Central Valley Project South-of-Delta allocations for the 2019 contract year. This update reflects ongoing water supply improvements due to the latest series of storms.
With this month’s update, South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors’ allocations are increased to 70% of their contract total. South-of-Delta allocations for municipal and industrial contractors’ allocations are increased to 95% of their historic use.
“The storms experienced in the Central Valley during the past week are unusual this late in the year, bringing the month’s precipitation to over twice its average,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. “The late storms provided an added boost to the already above average precipitation for 2019. Snowpack throughout the state is still about 150% of average for this time of year.”
The CVP Friant Division’s allocation remains unchanged for Class 1 contractors at 100%. However, the period for uncontrolled season deliveries to Class 2 contractors has been extended to June 14. (The first 800,000 acre-feet of available water supply is considered Class 1; Class 2 is considered the next amount of available water supply up to 1.4 million acre-feet).
All other CVP contractors’ allocations were previously increased to 100% of their contract totals in recent months.
The wet conditions this year have allowed Reclamation to meet full allocations for most CVP water users. However, Reclamation has had ongoing challenges in providing higher allocations for South-of-Delta water service contractors in recent decades in part due to regulatory restrictions. Even in above average water years, threatened and endangered species’ requirements, storage limitations and lost conveyance capacity from land subsidence pose challenges on Reclamation’s ability to export water South-of-Delta.
Reclamation is currently engaged in several processes to improve its ability to meet the water supply needs of the CVP in an environmentally and economically sound manner. These include several efforts directed by the October 2018 Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West, such as the effort to develop new biological opinions for the long-term coordinated operations of the CVP and State Water Project.