Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

California farmers told to expect reduced water deliveries this year

Friant Kern Canal
Friant Kern Canal water users were told Tuesday to expect just 30 percent of their Class 1 water this season.
Central Valley Project growers could see well-under 50 percent deliveries this season if conditions persist

The prediction that some California farmers could see a 30 percent federal water allocation this year is “optimistic,” according to one irrigation district.

The Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday issued its initial water supply allocation for the federal Central Valley Project. The allocation comes a full month ahead of last year’s initial forecast. Timing of the allocation is critical for planting decisions for growers who still have annual crops.

The conservative nature of the initial allocation stems from a lack of rain and snow across a state that one year ago saw record-high levels of snow and water supply. At current pace, California is on track to have its driest year on record.

While water levels are said to be close to normal for many state reservoirs, with no snowpack to replenish them, combined with exceptionally dry conditions this winter, means Californians can expect more water restrictions this summer.

  • The current forecast suggests south-of-Delta agricultural water contractors will receive 20 percent of their contracted allocations in 2018.
  • Friant division contractors were allocated 30 percent of their Class 1 supply in the decision.
  • Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District and Stockton East Water District will receive 100 percent of their allotted water.

Current conditions suggest that inflow into Shasta Lake, the Central Valley Project’s main reservoir north of Redding, will have inflows this season in excess of 3.2 million acre feet, meaning this will not be a “Shasta Critical” year as defined in water contracts.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.