This year’s above average rainfall and snow accumulation in Central California has generated surplus of water in Millerton Reservoir near Fresno, Calif., and the Bureau of Reclamation is offer it for sale to potential users downstream.
The Bureau of Reclamation is offering non-storable (Section 215) expected to be available through May. Section 215 water is defined as unstorable irrigation water to be released due to flood control criteria or un-managed flood flows. Section 215 water is exempt from the full cost provisions of the reclamation act.
The amount released will depend on actual hydrologic and operational conditions in the Upper San Joaquin River watershed over the next few months.
Currently, precipitation in the Upper San Joaquin River watershed at the Huntington Lake gaging station is about 146 percent of the seasonal average. Rainfall over the past few weeks has caused Millerton Reservoir to rise to flood-control levels that make additional releases necessary in order to avoid flood pool encroachment at Millerton Reservoir in accordance with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flood-control criteria; therefore, Reclamation is declaring the availability of Section 215 water for those Friant Division repayment and long-term water service contractors that enter into a “Temporary Water Service Contract for Surplus Water” with Reclamation.
Section 215 refers to temporary water supplies that are unusually large and not storable for project purposes and, among other measures, allows non-storable water to be applied to lands otherwise ineligible to receive federal water. Contractors must use all water that was approved for rescheduling from Water Year 2010 prior to taking delivery of Section 215 water.
The availability of this water is a separate action unrelated to the initial CVP water supply allocation announcement made on Feb. 18, 2011.