The Federal Bureau of Reclamation announced its allocation of water via the Central Valley Project.
The numbers? They’re not pretty.
Contractors from south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will receive only 20% of their contracted allocation from the Federal government. Meanwhile, Friant Class 1 contractors are receiving 30% of their contracted allocation.
California’s rainfall has undergone a dramatic swing between 2017 and 2018. 2017 was one of the wettest years on record. 2018, by comparison, one of the driest.
Despite the swing, the Bureau of Reclamation wasted no time identifying the culprit stopping California’s growers from getting much-needed water:
“Despite the historic rainfall last year, California’s lack of sufficient water storage forces us to operate on a year-to-year basis. The amount we can store in our reservoirs is not enough to get us through these very dry years.”
– David Murillo, Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director
Californians approved a major bond – Proposition 1 – for water storage in 2014. Since passage by voters, California hasn’t begun construction on a single new dam. Even worse, California spent its wettest year on record reeling from an overflow crisis at Oroville Dam in northern California.
Separately, Federal regulations continue to push what water does rain down on California out to the Pacific Ocean to protect delta smelt.
For now, the world’s agricultural hub is still at the beck-and-call of the Bureau of Reclamation’s paltry allocations.