The Central Valley Project is delivering full allocations of water to its customers this year for the first time since 2006.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in a long-anticipated announcement, said Tuesday that it could provide a full allotment to CVP customers, including those south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Those customers include some of the largest agricultural water districts in the San Joaquin Valley.
The announcement came four days after Gov. Jerry Brown declared an official end to the drought practically everywhere in California.
“Following the California Department of Water Resources’ exceptional March 30 snow survey results, Reclamation is pleased to announce this increase,” said the bureau’s acting regional director Pablo Arroyave.
Blaming environmental restrictions that acted as a bottleneck in the Delta, water contractors south of the Delta had been furious that the bureau wasn’t promising them a 100 percent allocation even as one of the wettest winters on record drew to a close. Up until three weeks ago, their allocation for this year was capped at 65 percent.
The bureau, however, said its caution was based on practical realities, not environmental concerns. The main reservoir south of the Delta, San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, was filled to the brim and couldn’t handle any more water pumped through the Delta.
“Today’s announcement is long overdue, but it is very welcome news for farmers, farm workers, and communities in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, who had blasted the federal agency last month.
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