Statement from Westlands Water District on Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Allocation Announcement
Today, the Bureau of Reclamation announced that the water allocation for South-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) agricultural water contractors has been increased from 35 percent to 55 percent. The increase is an improvement for the farmers and farmworkers in the Westlands Water District, but, given the healthy hydological conditions throughout the state, today’s announcement is a disappointment.
For years, we have been told that the farmers served by south-of-Delta ag service contractors received water allocation reductions due to water shortages. But this year, water is abundant, which is why today’s announcement is so frustrating. A 55 percent allocation, during a year with snowpack and reservoir levels well above average, further illustrates the extent to which California’s water supply system is broken and how important it is that we find long-term solutions to problems plaguing the water deliver system in California.
As of today, Lake Shasta is at 85 percent capacity and 111 percent of its historical average. San Luis Reservoir is at 99 percent capacity and 113 percent of its historical average. Yet, despite the availability of water, the rigid regulatory constraints imposed on operations of the CVP continue to prevent Reclamation from making common-sense water management decisions.