65% Percent Water Allocation for Westlands with 163 Percent Snow Pack

Statement on Bureau of Reclamation’s April Water Allocation Announcement

News Release from Westlands Water District

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation announced the water allocation for south-of-Delta Central Valley Project agricultural water service contractors is being increased to 65%. In light of current hydrologic and reservoir conditions, this minor increase is astonishing.

Thomas Birmingham, Westlands Water District’s general manager, stated: “This announcement begs the question, what has to happen before south-of-Delta farmers served by the Central Valley Project can get a full supply?”

With San Luis Reservoir full and flood flows coming, the 65 % allocation was more than disappointment.

Since October 1, the beginning of the current water year, California has been blessed with abundant precipitation; the 2018-19 water year is now classified as wet. As of April 8, the snow water content in the northern and central Sierra Nevada was 160% and 163% of the long-term average, respectively. Storage in every CVP reservoir used to supply south-of-Delta CVP agricultural water service contractors was more than 100% of average for that date. Indeed, these reservoirs were and remain in flood control operations.

Birmingham added, “I know that Reclamation staff understands the consequences of the decisions they make. Reclamation staff understands reduced allocations in a year like this needlessly increases overdraft in already overdrafted groundwater basins. Reclamation staff understands delayed allocation announcements make it nearly impossible for farmers to effectively plan their operations. If Reclamation’s leadership could, they would make a 100% allocation. But Reclamation’s hands are tied by restrictions imposed by biological opinions issued under the Endangered Species Act. These restrictions have crippled the CVP and have provided no demonstrative protection for listed fish species, all of which have continued to decline despite the draconian effect the biological opinions have had on water supply for people.”

Birmingham concluded, “Notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by the biological opinions, Westlands firmly believes that there is sufficient water to allocate to south-of-Delta agricultural water services contractors 100%. Today’s announcement by Reclamation is disappointing for every south-of Delta farmer served by the CVP, and we hope Reclamation will increase the allocation quickly to enable farmers to quit pumping groundwater.”

After 2019, no one will be able to argue that water supply reductions for south-of-Delta CVP agricultural water service contractors are a result of hydrologic conditions. This year demonstrates only too well the crippling consequences of ineffective and unchecked regulations. Because of restrictions imposed on operations of the CVP under the guise of protecting fish, the CVP cannot be operated to satisfy one of the primary purposes for which it was built, supplying water to farmers.

Almond Alliance Fights for Growers

Almond Alliance Shares Grower Interest with Almond Board

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California almond growers are well represented by the Almond Alliance. Elaine Trevino, president of the Modesto-based Almond Alliance, explained the difference between the Almond Alliance and the Almond Board to California Ag Today recently.

“We have a very different structure,” she said. Almond Board’s budget is based on a mandatory assessment. They cannot do use their dollars for advocacy or political involvement. And so the Almond Alliance was created to help fill that void.”

The Almond Alliance is a membership-based organization. One big issue that California almond growers are facing is water allocation. It is very important to understand federal and state in terms of oversight.

Elaine Trevino

“Water is so complex, and right when you think you understand it, you realize that you don’t,” Trevino said.

She thinks their congressional delegation has worked very hard to fight for the agriculture industry. They call it a water fix.

The water infrastructure in California was designed when the population was one-third of what it is today.

“Until some of those hard discussions of growth and development and storage happen, it’s just going to be continual band-aids and fixes, and it definitely needs to be something much more,” Trevino said.

This is going to take some real leadership and a lot of people have been working very hard at this.

“I’m a big supporter of DeeDee D’Adamo, a member of the California State Water Resources Control Board, because she continues to fight for ag. She is very knowledgeable, especially when there is a water shortage,” Trevino said.

“Until we can start having some of those discussions about above ground water storage and general water use for the state of California, we’re gonna just be putting band-aids on really big problems,” she explained.

Super PAC to Save Animals that Die in Wildfires, Part 2

Rachel Martin on Need for Super PAC to Save Forests, Wildlife, Ag

By Charmayne Hefley, Assistant Editor

Part 2:  Animals Needlessly Die in Fires

We are continuing our three-part series with Rachel Martin, the national chairperson of Homeland Security for the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), who is urging the creation of a political action committee (super PAC) to save forests, wildlife, and ag suffering from limited water allocations during this extensive drought.

“Agricultural agencies aren’t the only entities suffering from the lack of water allocations,” Martin explained. “Other agencies are also suffering due to the environmental regulations that prevent forest maintenance, such as logging, thinning of the forests and controlled burns. Curtailment of forest maintenance leaves thousands of acres of forest, as well as wildlife, vulnerable to larger, more numerous, and containment-resistant wildfires each year.

“When law enforcement evacuates homes, they have to force people out,” Martin said. “People fight to come back into get their pets—their dogs, their cats, their horses, livestock and any other animals they may have. But, oftentimes, residents don’t have the means to haul their animals with them; they may not have horse trailers. Sometimes, animals actually run free up into the mountains and can’t readily be caught. As I was specifically told by some law enforcement officials, those animals end up dying in the fires.”

Martin realized that once animal lovers learn of the suffering caused by the environmental regulations, they might consider joining the fight against the environmentalists. “I’ve been working with animal organizations and animal lovers. I’m one myself. I have quite a few pets, and I grew up around horses. Animal organizations and animal lovers alike can get in on this fight against the environmentalists.”

“Environmentalists are trying to protect species that actually aren’t even on the protected list yet; they’re almost on the protected list,” Martin stated. “Yet, in doing so, they just keep getting further and further away with from their original goal of protecting endangered species and pristine forests. They’re getting away with a lot more through politicians, too.”