Interior Hopeful on California Water Outlook
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the Bureau of Reclamation’s Initial 2010 Central Valley Project (CVP) Water Supply Forecast and steps the United States government is taking to seek additional water supplies for drought-stricken farmers. Snowpack and runoff forecasts are significantly improved over the past three years and, if current weather patterns continue, California may have an “average” or better water year.
If 2010 is an average water year, allocations can be anticipated as follows:
- Senior agricultural water users along the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers will be allocated 100 percent of their contract quantities (approximately 2.4 million acre feet);
- Friant Division agricultural water service contractors will be allocated 100 percent of Class 1 water;
- Eastside Division agricultural contractors (Stanislaus River) will be allocated 100 percent of their contract quantities (155,000 acre-feet);
- Agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta will be allocated 100 percent of their contract quantities;
- Agricultural water service contractors south of the Delta will be allocated 30 percent of their contract quantities;
- Municipal and industrial water service contractors north of the Delta will be allocated 100 percent, and those south of the Delta, 75 percent;
- Wildlife refuges north and south of the Delta will be allocated 100 percent of their “Level 2” water (approximately 400,000 acre feet).
These potential allocations are good news for the large majority of water users served by the Central Valley Project; however, the three previous years of drought and uncertainty regarding this water year present serious water supply challenges for west valley south of Delta agricultural water service contractors. In recognition of this fact, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has directed the Department of the Interior to work with other federal and state agencies and other parties to secure additional water opportunities for farmers south of the Delta.