After storms, Feds to deliver 35% water allocation to Valley farmers

Farmers and Valley water users in Central Valley are looking at a better start to the year than 2022.

While still far off from their contracted amounts, Central Valley Project contractors are in line to receive a much better portion of their contracted water than they were last year. 

CVP contractors South-of-Delta will receive 35 percent of their contracted amount, the Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday. 


Last year, the South-of-Delta irrigation water service and repayment contractors – which represents a wide swath of farmers in the western San Joaquin Valley – did not receive any water from the Bureau of Reclamation with the allocation set at zero percent of the contract totals. 

Similarly, the Bureau zeroed out municipal and industrial water supplies for central and southern San Joaquin Valley communities, leaving them only with health and safety allocations after starting the water allocation at 25 percent in February.

By the numbers: Along with the 35 percent for South-of-Delta contractors, municipal and industrial contractors will receive 75 percent of their historical use. 

  • Friant Division contractors have their supply split between Class 1 – the first 800,000 acre-feet of available water supply – and Class 2, the next amount of available water supply up to 1.4 million acre-feet. 
  • The Friant Division’s water supply allocation is 100 percent of Class 1 and 20 percent of Class 2. 

State of play: Adding onto the federal allocation, the California Department of Water Resources announced Wednesday that it increased its forecasted State Water Project Deliveries from 30 percent of requested water supplies to 35 percent. 

  • DWR’s allocation increase is due to the snowpack and reservoir storage accumulated from the storms that battered the state at the beginning of the year, as well as spring runoff forecasts and the anticipation of dry conditions for much of the year. 

What they’re saying: Westlands Water District released a statement following the announcement saying it is grateful for the 35 percent allocation and thankful given the zero percent allocation that water users have had to survive on recently. 

  • “This year’s initial allocation demonstrates the critical and urgent need to invest in water storage and conveyance infrastructure,” said Jose Gutierrez, Westlands’s interim general manager. “California must do a better job capturing water during wet periods, like those we experienced at the end of December and beginning of January. Modernizing our decades old federal and state storage and conveyance systems and improving local and regional infrastructure are important steps.” 
  • Federico Barajas, the Executive Director of the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority also called for more water storage along with sharing his gratefulness for the 35 percent allocation. 
  • “After two years of receiving no water from contracted water supplies, we are relieved to see Reclamation make an initial allocation of 35 percent for Authority irrigation water service and repayment member agencies…,” Barajas said. “The time to invest is now – we cannot allow this moment to pass without meaningful action to build water resilience for the communities and ecosystems served by the Authority’s member agencies.” 
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