Feds boost water supply for Valley farmers by 20 percent

The Central Valley Project will be able to deliver more water to farmers due boosted hydrological conditions.

Central Valley farmers will be getting more water after recent storms have boosted California’s reservoirs and snowpack. 

The Bureau of Reclamation announced allocation increases on Friday for the Central Valley Project. 


The big picture: South-of-Delta contractors are having their supply boosted from 15 percent to 35 percent. 

  • Municipal and industrial services are being increased from 65 percent to 75 percent, as well. 
  • North-of-Delta contractors will receive their full contracts, up from an initial 75 percent allocation. 
  • Friant Division contractors are having their Class 1 supplies increased from 60 percent. Class 1 supplies are the first 800,000 acre-feet of available water delivered from Millerton Reservoir. 
  • The Bureau of Reclamation is also reserving around 83,000 acre-feet of water currently in San Luis Reservoir to contribute to a drought reserve pool that is not considered available for this year’s water supply allocations. There is also an additional 185,000 acre-feet of rescheduled water from 2023 not included in this year’s allocation. 

What they’re saying: “While the series of storms in Northern California improved the water supply outlook, a number of factors, particularly anticipated regulatory constraints throughout the spring, continue to limit the water supply allocation for south-of-Delta agriculture,” said Karl Stock, California-Great Basin Regional Director. 

  • Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) celebrated the announcement, – which came just hours after he took to the House Floor to request the Bureau increase the allocations – but wants to see more.
  • “These increased allocation numbers are welcome news, but they don’t go far enough to help our CVP contractors who have received well below their contracted supply for years,” Valadao said. “Recent storms and a strong snowpack should give Reclamation the flexibility to get Central Valley users the water they contract and pay for.” 
  • San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Executive Director Federico Barajas said much of the rainfall and snowpack over the last month was not fully captured in Friday’s update.
  • Barajas added that he anticipates additional constraints to Central Valley Project operations from April through June, which follows constraints imposed for the protection of steelhead.
  • “Simply put, we must do better – we must strike a better balance in scientifically supported decision-making to adaptively manage California’s water system, which supports drinking water for more than 30 million people, the world’s 5th largest economy, and one of Earth’s most fertile and productive food producing regions,” Barajas said.
  • Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) said the increase was disappointing and should be higher.
  • “These low allocations pose challenges for farmers, ranchers, and dairymen and women who are making decisions now on planning their operations that put food on America’s dinner table each night,” Costa said. “I will continue working with federal and state water leaders to increase allocations over the next few weeks, while also continuing to push for additional investments in California water storage through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other funding.”
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