“The Department of the Interior today announced another increase in this year’s water supply allocations for Central Valley Project users, and the news is very good.
Farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley will now receive 45 percent of their contractual water supply. This is up from the 40 percent allocation announced last month, and a dramatic increase over the initial allocation of 5 percent announced early this year. As previously announced, farmers in the Sacramento Valley will receive their full contractual allocation.
With each federal allocation announcement this spring, Central Valley farmers have received even greater certainty that they will have sufficient water to plant, hire and harvest this year. This is very welcome news, particularly after three previous years of drought.
This increased allocation is due in large part to a series of heavy spring storms that replenished California’s snowpack levels to above normal levels. But it’s also true that South-of-Delta farmers would be facing a different scenario if it weren’t for the administrative measures announced in February to secure the equivalent of an additional 8 to 10 percent allocation.
There is a long list of people who have dedicated countless hours to alleviate California’s dire water crisis. This includes, in no particular order, Ken Salazar and David Hayes, Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Interior, respectively; Senator Boxer, along with Representatives Costa and Cardoza; Lester Snow and Mark Cowin from the State of California; the Metropolitan Water District; the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors; and the Friant Water Users Authority. Today’s announcement wouldn’t be possible without the perseverance, creativity, and resourcefulness of all of these individuals and groups.
The challenge that remains before us will be to identify longer-term solutions to restore the health of the fragile Delta, increase water storage, improve water recycling and build new conveyance. The stakes are too high to fail.”