The Bureau of Reclamation’s initial water allocation for the Central Valley Project (CVP) is just 5% for agricultural water contractors south of the Delta.

Westlands Water District GM Tom Birmingham said this was no surprise given the current conditions, along with regulations that restrict CVP operations. He called it a reminder of the need to “maximize water use efficiency, improve climate resilience and ensure greater water supply reliability.”

The Friant Water Authority said recent storms helped avoid “complete catastrophe” but were not enough to overcome two dry years. “We anticipate that many growers throughout the south San Joaquin Valley and on the Eastside will need to rely heavily on groundwater supplies, just as they did in 2020,” the agency said in a statement.

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“Today’s announcement makes it clear that more needs to be done,” said Rep. Jim Costa, who represents central San Joaquin Valley. “That’s why I've called repeatedly for state and federal officials to work out their differences over the biological opinions and complete voluntary agreements to create more water certainty for the people of California.”