Interior Hopeful on California Water Outlook
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced in a news conference Friday 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.
Secretary Salazar announces a hopeful water forecast based on a report released by the Bureau of Reclamation.
For the first time in three years, we hope that some relief is on the way to the drought stricken farmers of the Delta. Between snowpack and runoff forecasts and actions that federal , state and Delta stakeholders are prepared to take to undertake, we believe we have identified steps that will bring additional water opportunities to these hard hit communities.
Secretary Salazar details the anticipated water allocations for the Bay Delta.
Agriculture water contractors along the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers in the Freant Division, the East Side Division and north of the Delta would receive 100 percent of their contract quantities. Secondly, agricultural water contractors south of the Delta would be projected to receive 30 percent of their contract quantities. Thirdly, municipal and industrial water contractors north of the Delta would receive an allocation of 100 percent and those south of the Delta would receive an allocation of 75 percent. Wildlife refuges north and south of the Delta would be allocated 100 percent of their water.
The Department of Agriculture is also making resources available to augment Interior's efforts.
My colleague in the cabinet, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, is making available resources for farmers and communities. He will have a team from U.S.D.A headquarters that will go to California to work with the local U.S.D.A staff from rural development, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency to ensure that the programs available within the Department of Agriculture are fully deployed to insure that there is assistance to the valley.
Several stakeholders will be working together to allocate more water to the west side of the Bay Delta.
It’s a water management effort for 2010 that will augment the water supply to the West side farmers from somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 acre feet. Now the precise number that we land on will be dependent on the additional analysis and conversations and agreements that we have been working on day and night for the last couple of weeks to see how we can bring some relief to the valley.