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North of Delta gets 75%, south of Delta only 15%.

Farm Press Staff

February 22, 2024

1 Min Read
Sacramento River
The Sacramento River flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.Tim Hearden

Despite a parade of recent atmospheric-river storms that has caused flooding in some areas of California, most irrigators who rely on Central Valley Project surface water won’t get their full allocations, at least initially.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Feb. 21 that agricultural customers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta would get an initial allocation of 75% of contracted supplies.

But south of the Delta, irrigation water service and repayment contractors will only receive a 15% early allocation.

Full allocations were given to municipal customers north of the Delta along the Sacramento, San Joaquin and American river, in-Delta contractors and Eastside water contractors, according to the bureau.

Friant Division contractors’ water supply is delivered from Millerton Reservoir on the upper San Joaquin River via the Madera and Friant-Kern canals. The first 800,000 acre-feet of available water supply is considered Class 1; Class 2 is considered the next amount of available water supply up to 1.4 million acre-feet. The Friant Division water supply allocation is 60% of Class 1 and 0% of Class 2.

The 2024 water year is determined as non-critical, as defined in their contracts, which allows for 100% of contract supply for wildlife refuges (Level 2), both north- and south-of-Delta.

Allocations could change

As the water year progresses, changes in hydrology, actions that impact operations, and opportunities to deliver additional water will influence future allocations, Reclamation officials say.

The allocations come even as Shasta Lake, the CVP’s chief reservoir, is at 87% of capacity.

More rain and snow appear to be on the way, as the federal Climate Prediction Center sees an elevated chance of above-average precipitation throughout California in the next month.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

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