Western Farm Press Logo

Rep calls latest CVP boost ‘insufficient’

San Joaquin Valley’s allocation raised from 35% to 40%.

Farm Press Staff

May 1, 2024

2 Min Read
Shasta Lake
Shasta Lake, the centerpiece of the Central Valley Project, is near full capacity.Tim Hearden

A congressman who represents part of the San Joaquin Valley is criticizing the Bureau of Reclamation’s latest increase in this year’s Central Valley Project water allocation for his area, calling it “insufficient.”

In March, Reclamation announced a 35% allocation for agricultural repayment and water service contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, up from their initial February allocation of 15%. Last week, Reclamation announced these allocations for South-of-Delta contractors would be increasing to 40%.

“A 5% increase is insufficient for our family farms and downstream communities who rely on meaningful allocations to grow the food that feeds the world,” said U.S. Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. “Recent storms, current reservoir capacity, and a healthy snowpack should give Reclamation the flexibility to significantly increase allocations and get CVP users the water they contract and pay for.

“I will continue urging transparency in Reclamation's decision-making and a significant increase in water allocations for South-of-Delta agriculture,” he said.

Reclamation also recently increased the Friant Division’s Class 1 allocation from 95% to 100% of contracted supplies, and increased the Class 2 allocation from zero to 5%.

"Hydrologic conditions have improved enough that we are able to provide this gradual increase,” said California-Great Basin Regional Director Karl Stock. “We realize that our contractors were hoping to see a greater amount of water, and we understand how critical irrigation is to California agriculture and the surrounding communities. However, continued uncertainty in long-term hydrology and regulatory constraints necessitate Reclamation’s approach with available water supplies.”

Since Reclamation’s initial water allocation announcement in February, Valadao has urged the agency to increase these allocations to reflect the record wet year in California. After the bureau’s March announcement of increased allocations, Valadao penned a letter to agency officials urging them to provide a significant increase in CVP water allocations for South-of-Delta agricultural water service and repayment contractors.

Central Valley agriculture contractors rely on meaningful allocations from Reclamation for their yearly planning, Valadao’s office asserts. Valley farmers and communities have endured disproportionately low water allocations for many years, with contractors receiving well below their contracted supply even during wet years.

A lifelong dairy farmer, Valadao says he has experienced firsthand the challenges and frustrations surrounding this issue. He has consistently called for CVP allocations to reflect the needs of the agriculture community, the backbone of the Central Valley economy.

Source: Office of U.S. Rep. David Valadao, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like