The Bureau of Reclamation has significantly increased water supplies for Central Valley Project (CVP) water contractors.

For agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta, the water supply forecast increases from 5 percent to 50 percent, and the water supply forecast for Municipal and Industrial (M&I) water service contractors north of the Delta increases from 55 percent to 75 percent. For agricultural water service contractors south of the Delta, the water supply forecast increases from 5 percent to 25 percent, while the water supply forecast for M&I users south of the Delta increases from 55 percent to 75 percent of historic use.

Plus, the Class 2 water supply forecast for Friant Division contractors increases from 0 to 10 percent; the Class 1 water supply forecast for Friant Division contractors remains at 100 percent.

Since the initial water supply announcement based on the Feb. 1 runoff forecast, California has experienced a continued improvement in overall water supply conditions as wet weather patterns progressed throughout February. The increases announced this week are a result of additional precipitation, improved snowpack, and improved storage at Shasta Reservoir and the federal share of San Luis Reservoir. Improved inflow to Millerton Lake has led to the increase in Friant Division supplies. Although the updated water supply forecasts are very good news for most CVP water users, South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors still face serious water supply challenges, in part as a result of early year dry conditions and operational constraints imposed on the CVP by water quality and fish species concerns.

Reclamation is working with other federal and state agencies, South-of-Delta contractors, and other stakeholders to secure additional water. Under this Department of the Interior initiative, it is expected that a range of an additional 150,000 to 200,000 acre-feet of water will be secured, or 8-10 percent of west side South-of-Delta agricultural water service contract quantities. These amounts represent new supplies for 2010 not previously available to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

In partnership with our contractors, Reclamation is also actively continuing various initiatives designed to make more effective use of existing water supplies including: working in partnership with the State of California through the Water Transfer Program to facilitate a more expeditious process for transferring water from willing sellers north of the Delta to water-short areas south of the Delta; utilizing increased authority to make excess capacity in CVP facilities available to convey and store non-Project water supplies; encouraging better utilization of Project water supplies through water conservation grant programs; working with Project contractors to make use of supplemental groundwater or non-Project water supplies during critical months, thereby freeing up Project supplies for use elsewhere in the system; and maximizing flexibilities to transfer and exchange water among Reclamation’s contractors.

Water supply updates will be made monthly or more often as necessary based on new information throughout the precipitation season. As water supply updates are made, they will be posted on the Mid-Pacific Region’s Web site at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/.