Reclamation Releases Low 2013 Water Allocation Estimates

Reclamation Releases Low 2013 Water Allocation Estimates

Facing one of the driest combined Januarys and Februarys on record, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Feb. 25 released low 2013 water allocation estimates from the Central Valley Project.

Under Reclamation estimates, agricultural water service contractors south of the Delta will receive 25% of contracted supplies, municipal and industrial contractors south of the Delta and those north of the Delta served by Folsom Reservoir will receive 75% of their historic use, while municipal and industrial contractors north of the Delta served by Shasta Reservoir will receive an estimated 100% of their contracted supply.

Agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta are allocated 75% of their supply, while Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Exchange Settlement contractors will receive 100% of supply.

In a statement announcing the water allocations, Reclamation officials also cited pumping restrictions to protect Delta smelt in the south Delta as another reason for lower allocations.

“While we continue to hope for additional precipitation during the remainder of the rainy season, we are also continuing to work with our federal, state and local partners to improve this year’s supply and to find a comprehensive, long-term solution that will achieve the dual goals of a reliable water supply for California and a healthy Bay Delta ecosystem that supports the state’s economy,” Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo stated in a press release.

Reclamation began the 2013 water year with 6.9 million acre-feet of carryover storage in six key CVP reservoirs, which is 98% of the 15-year average for Oct. 1. Storms in late November and December resulted in above-average snowpack conditions in Northern California and contributed to above-average storage in Shasta and Folsom Reservoirs. However, the relatively wet start to the water year was followed by one of the driest Januarys and Februarys on record.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) estimates that it will be able to deliver 40% of the slightly more than 4 million acre-feet of State Water Project (SWP) water requested this calendar year by the 29 public agencies that supply water to more than 25 million Californians.

DWR reports that snowpack and precipitation in the Sierra Nevada are below normal with snow water content at 70% of average for this time of year. DWR’s February Water Year 2013 Runoff Forecast indicates a dry water year type for the Sacramento Valley and a critical water year type for the San Joaquin Valley.

Water supply updates from Reclamation are available here