Secretary Salazar Announces 350,000 Acre Feet of Additional Water Availability to Central Valley Project Water Users


Expedited Water Rescheduling, Exchanges and Transfers Will Help Growers Plan for 2010


01/26/2010

Contact: Pete Lucero (Reclamation) (916) 978-5101
Kendra Barkoff (DOI) (202) 208-6416

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced additional actions to assist water users in California, particularly farmers in the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley, who have been severely impacted by three years of drought and reduced allocations of Federal Central Valley Project (CVP) water.

 “The recent storms in California are welcome relief for farmers, water users, and watersheds that have been hit hard by three years of drought,” said Secretary Salazar, “but we are not out of the woods yet. We must keep all hands on deck to stretch water supplies, move water to where it is needed most, provide certainty for growers in the year ahead, and build long-term water solutions in partnership with the State.”

To assist farmers in the short term, Secretary Salazar announced 350,000 to 400,000 acre-feet of water will be made available for West Side farmers by March 1, the beginning of the contract water year. When the Mid-Pacific Region makes its initial CVP water allocation announcement for Water Year 2010 near the end of February, the allocation will be in addition to these amounts.

This assured water supply is being provided as a result of two significant actions taken by the Bureau of Reclamation. First, Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region issued rescheduling guidelines on July 30, 2009 – much earlier in the water year than ever before – to allow farmers to hold water over for the 2010 growing season. Second, because storms have raised precipitation numbers throughout the CVP to “average” for this time of year, the Bureau has determined that it can deliver non-CVP water currently stored in the San Luis Reservoir under Warren Act contracts and approve requests to reschedule CVP supplies from the 2009 contract year for delivery in 2010.  

"The steps we are taking will help provide water users and growers critical assurances for the year ahead,” said Salazar. “The Obama Administration is committed to being a full partner with the State and stakeholders in both addressing urgent water needs and laying a foundation for California’s water future.”

For more information about the Department of the Interior’s ongoing efforts to help California tackle the water crisis, visit: http://www.doi.gov/news/doinews/ca_water_challenges.cfm.