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Late-season storms offer chance to capture water for California agriculture
Fortunately there has been some improvement in Shasta Lake over the past couple months. Nearly a half-million acre feet of storage was added by storms since Feb. 1.
The increased storage at Shasta could help Northern California rice growers and somewhat ease concerns of river flows later in the season.
The moderately good news for Shasta Lake does little to assuage the concerns for the Central Valley Project’s east side water users. Their zero-percent allocation still doesn’t account for water that must magically appear to make exchange and settlement contractors whole as they are first in line for at least 75 percent of their full CVP allocation.
It would take dozens of feet of snow or an awful lot of rain in a short matter of time in the San Joaquin River watershed to help the east side growers. Time is running out.
Friant Water Authority General Manager Ron Jacobsma emphasized several times at the Tulare Water rally earlier this week what the letter spells out: there has been minimal to no take of endangered species at Delta pumps, suggesting that those concerns should not hold back operators from turning them up to move water south of the Delta.
These are the times for which water storage is made. Generations ago saw the need for reservoirs to control massive floods and for banked storage in times of drought. While the issues and management can oftentimes be complex, the fact remains that current law allows for flexibility in managing the system to help the human users of this water.
Meanwhile, let’s continue to work together to get through this critical period and continue to aggressively push for the additional storage and infrastructure it will take to meet agricultural, environmental and urban water needs in the decades to come.
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