Aubrey Bettencourt, Executive Director of the California Water Alliance (CalWA) announced today her organization’s disappointment following announcement of initial water allocations for farms in the Central Valley:

“After a two-month delay and with a snowpack that is 200 percent above normal, in at time of brimming-full reservoirs, statewide flooding not seen since the 1890’s and with receding memories of six years of drought, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has set its initial water allocation for Central Valley rural communities and farmers at 65 percent and California’s largest cities at 90 percent,” Bettencourt said.

“USBR’s allocations for the past three years were Zero, Zero, 5 and now 65 percent.” Bettencourt continued. “This is at a time when the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) literally  has no more room to store water and is managing the system for flood prevention.”

“USBR’s decision and actions prove that excessive regulations and flawed management philosophies are causing California’s water shortages — both in times of drought and in years when rain is plentiful — not hydrographic conditions of the state,” she said.

“USBR has confused its role with that of a policy maker rather than perform its true function as manager and operator of the nation’s largest man-made water delivery system in a predictable, safe and reliable manner. ”

“Whether in drought or flood, regulators dictate whether there will be a water shortage in California,” Bettencourt continued.

“The state’s water system is out of date, undersized and overburdened with regulatory requirements. Federal and state regulations — despite their intent —  have failed to protect our environment, wildlife, waterfowl and fish, water quality, nor have they secured reliability of our water supply. Rather, the regulators have precipitated further declines in endangered species and devastated groundwater aquifers statewide by depriving them of the surface water necessary for their habitats and recharge.”

Bettencourt described the impacts farmers expect as a result of another year of low surface water deliveries:

“The Bureau of Reclamation’s setting of another low surface-water delivery allocation will aggregate groundwater overdraft and cause more land subsidence in aquifers of the state, precipitating a continuing environmental catastrophe.”

“This isn’t about ‘wanting more water,’” she continued. “It’s about doing what’s right and scientifically proven. Apparently no amount of rain will make a difference in California. Our state is destined to wither in a perpetual state of drought — natural and regulatory.”




About the California Water Alliance

The California Water Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the nature of water and promoting long-term, sustainable solutions that meet the health and security needs of families, cities, businesses, farmers and the environment. To learn more, visit