By Elizabeth Jonasson
Today, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) announced the initial water allocation for Central Valley Project (CVP) water. Reclamation allocated Westlands Water District (Westlands) and similarly situation contractors 35% of the water the districts are entitled to under their contracts.
In response to the announcement, Jose Gutierrez, the District’s interim general manager, issued the following statement:
“We are grateful for a 35% allocation and thank the dedicated staff at Reclamation, who worked hard to allocate as much water as feasible to the water users who have survived on a 0% allocation for the past two years. The past two years of 0% resulted in over 223,000 acres, approximately 36% of the District’s farmland, being fallowed in Westlands. An adequate and reliable supply of surface water is critical to the viability of the communities and farms in the San Joaquin Valley and their ability to feed the world. We are hopeful that precipitation continues to fall and are appreciative of the initial allocation from Reclamation.”
This year’s initial allocation demonstrates the critical and urgent need to invest in water storage and conveyance infrastructure. 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. The District continues to pursue, support, and implement balanced solutions that protect and restore the water supplies needed by the families that live and work in and around the District. The District is committed to ensuring every drop of water available is put to good use, including for California’s precious ecosystems.