Interior Announces Increased Water Supply Allocations in California


Additional Water Supplies to be Made Available South of Delta


03/16/2010


Contact: Kendra Barkoff/Joan Moody
(202) 208-6416


WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the Bureau of Reclamation’s 2010 Central Valley Project Water Supply allocations have increased throughout the valley as a result of additional precipitation, improved snowpack, and improved storage at Shasta Reservoir.  As forecast by Reclamation on February 26, California is having a near-average water year following three years of drought.

“The Department is deeply committed to working with all stakeholders to find solutions to the challenges – both short term and long term – facing water users throughout the Central Valley,” said Secretary Salazar, who was joined on the teleconference by Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor.  “In this case, we accelerated our reporting of updated allocations, hoping to get the best available information to agricultural water service contractors as quickly as possible.  This allocation update shows improvements from the previous allocation – just as we hoped in our recent announcement.”

Typically, Reclamation would release the March allocation update around March 22nd, but moved up the announcement at the urging of Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Congressmen Costa and Cardoza.

Compared to the previous allocation, and using a conservative forecast regarding additional precipitation (generally referred to as the 90 percent exceedence forecast): 

“This is good news for the large majority of water users served by the Central Valley Project, but we realize that South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors face serious water supply challenges, in part as a result of three consecutive years of drought and operational constraints imposed on the CVP to address water quality and fish species of concern.    That’s why we continue to work hard and make progress towards providing an additional 8 to 10 percent for agriculture south of the Delta,” said Secretary Salazar.

The Department of the Interior is working diligently and in close partnership with other Federal and State agencies, South-of-Delta contractors, and other stakeholders to secure additional water for agricultural water users on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.  Under this initiative, it is expected that a range of an additional 150,000 to 200,000 acre-feet will be secured, or 8-10 percent of west side South-of-Delta agricultural water service contract quantities.   These amounts represent new supplies for 2010 not previously available to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.     

“While we must take immediate steps and stop-gap measures, we cannot lose sight of our long-term plans to help California’s situation,” added Salazar.  “We will continue to aggressively pursue a comprehensive water supply and restoration plan, working closely with Governor Schwarzenegger and his team, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, Congressmen Miller, Costa, Cardoza, Thompson, Napolitano, and other members of the delegation, and all stakeholders, so that California can have a sustainable water future.”

Additional information regarding the updated forecast, including water supply forecasts based on both the median (50 percent exceedence) and conservative (90 percent exceedence) levels, is available in the Bureau of Reclamations March 16, 2010 Information Release and at www.usbr.gov/mp/pa/water