State and federal water contractors say they will deliver from 30 percent to 75 percent of contracted agricultural and municipal water supplies this season.

That is not bad, considering how dry this winter has been. Rain and snowpack runoff is expected well below average, unless there is another wet “March miracle.”

Although most farmers will get from only 30 percent to 50 percent of contracted supplies, irrigated fields are not as dry as would be expected with the dry winter. There were grower allocated water supplies left over from the 2011 growing season, which was a lower water use, mild growing season punctuated by one of the largest runoff years to fill reservoirs in recent times. This leftover water has been applied as pre-season irrigations to open ground, orchards and vineyards throughout the winter. Soil water profiles should be well-filled for the start of the season in most areas.

Because it has been so dry, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has reduced its estimate of the amount of water the State Water Project will deliver this year.

DWR dropped its projected delivery allocation, from 60 percent to 50 percent of the requested amount of slightly more than 4 million acre-feet.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s initial 2012 water supply allocation for Central Valley Project (CVP) is as follows:

  • Agricultural water service contractor’s North- and South-of-Delta are allocated 30 percent of their contract supply of 443,000 acre-feet and 1.965 million acre-feet respectively.
  • Municipal and industrial water service contractors North- and South-of-Delta are both allocated 75 percent of their contract supply. This allocation is a percentage of historic use and may be adjusted to meet public health and safety needs.
  • Sacramento River Settlement Contractors and San Joaquin River Exchange and Settlement Contractors, who receive their CVP water supply based upon pre-CVP held water rights and is tied to pre-established Shasta inflow criteria, are allocated 75 percent of their contract supply of 2.2 million acre-feet and 875,000 acre-feet respectively.
  • Wildlife refuges North- and South-of-Delta, whose allocations are also based upon pre-established Shasta inflow criteria, are allocated 75 percent of their contract supply of 422,000 acre-feet.
  • Friant Division contractors’ water supply is delivered from Millerton Reservoir on the upper San Joaquin River. The first 800,000 acre-feet of water supply is considered Class 1; any remaining water is considered Class 2. Based upon DWR’s February 2012 Runoff Forecast, the Friant Division water supply allocation is 35 percent of Class 1 and zero percent of the contracted supply of 1.4 million acre-feet of Class 2.
  • Eastside water service contractors (Central San Joaquin Water Conservancy District and Stockton East Water District) whose water supplies are delivered from New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River, are allocated their full contract supply of 155,000 acre-feet.