(California) — California Water Alliance (CalWA) executive director Aubrey Bettencourt today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s update to its 2017 water-supply allocation for all Central Valley Project contractors South-of-the-Delta to increase expected deliveries to 100 percent of their contract supply for the first time since 2006.
“Water reservoirs have been full beyond federal flood-control capacity limits on and off since December, and today nearly every surface-storage facility in the state has far more water than required or is entirely full,” said Bettencourt.
“Today the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced all water users located south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary will receive 100 percent of their contracted amounts,” she continued.
“The Central Valley Project’s allocation update came so late in the year that plans and preparation for agricultural planting in 2017’s growing season was mostly completed and many opportunities to raise more food were lost,” Bettencourt cautioned.
“The good news is that the CVP recognized that they could deliver surface water that would limit further pumping of overdrafted underground water supplies and help recharge those aquifers,” Bettencourt added.
In its press statement accompanying the update, Bureau spokesperson and Acting Regional Director Pablo Arroyave said, “Given the magnitude of this allocation, the amount of water carried over from last year, and the overall availability of surface water, Reclamation strongly encourages the use of surface supplies instead of ground water wherever possible through the remainder of the 2017 water year.”
“One good year after multiple years of reduced allocations and zero deliveries during the drought will not restore California’s Central Valley croplands nor the southland’s cities, aquifers and water supplies to pre-drought conditions,” she said.
Now’s the time to look ahead as we prepare for our 21st century water challenges — modernizing our water infrastructure, providing water to meet the needs of our environmental protection programs and expanding our use of revolutionary new water technologies,” Bettencourt concluded.