SACRAMENTO, CA – California has released its updated information for the allocations of this year’s irrigation water. The state upped its last declared number to state that farmers will receive 100 percent of water allocations in Central and Southern regions.
The Central Valley agricultural community’s access to the full water supply will be the first since 2006, according to the Sacramento Bee. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation stated that customers of the Central Valley Project, which includes dristicts south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, will all receive the allocation.
One year ago, these same districts only received a 5 percent allotment. As little as three weeks ago, the districts were told that their access might not reach over 65 percent this year. The Fresno Bee stated that the Bureau’s mind was ultimately swayed by recent snowpack results, showing the average statewide snow-water equivalent up nearly double the average.
“We were looking at it conservatively. What if conditions dry up? How will we manage water going forward?” said Wilbert Louis Moore, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Mid-Pacific Region, Bureau of Reclamation.
The news comes after California’s wettest winter in several years. Recently, Governor Jerry Brown declared an official end to the drought emergency in our state, though still cautioning that conservation needed to continue.
The Sacramento Bee also stated that though groups have reported being pleased with the increase in allotment, the announcement may have come later than preferred for some operations.
“You don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, but it’s a reality of farming that the decisions for the growing season are made months ago,” said Johnny Amaral, Deputy General Manager of the Westlands Water District in Fresno. “There’s reason to celebrate, (but) my only hope is that we could have had this announcement earlier.”
California’s State Water Project, which also serves as a water delivery network, told its customers that a 60 percent allotment could be expected this year. Like the Central Valley, that number could also increase, but it will depend on the management of damaged reservoirs like Lake Oroville over the summer.