The Department of Water Resources on Thursday bumped water allocations to 100% for the first time in nearly two decades, and the Bureau of Reclamation immediately followed suit.
The actions came ahead of a warm front hitting California this weekend. The rapid snow melt in the mountains will tip several rivers past flood stage and inevitably expand Tulare Lake into more agricultural lands. Reservoirs have neared—if not exceed—capacity, and the state is encouraging more farmers to flood fields for groundwater recharge.
According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, agencies are “moving and storing as much water as possible to meet the state’s needs, reduce the risk of flooding and protect our communities, agriculture and the environment.”
Contractors: State Water Contractors General Manager Jennifer Pierre thanked the administration and pushed for more infrastructure to better handle future wet years like this. That includes building Sites Reservoir and a Delta tunnel, expanding recharge and repairing canals.
“It can be easy to forget that it’s not a matter of if another drought will come, but when,” said Pierre.
Don’t miss a beat! It’s easy to sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse news! For the latest on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and around the country in agriculture, just click here.
Cities: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is “not taking these improved conditions for granted.” The agency is “storing as much water as possible in every storage account we have.”
Farmers: The Westlands Water District is seeing its first 100% federal allocation since 2017 and is “exceedingly grateful.” According to interim General Manager Jose Gutierrez, “this water supply will assist growers in Westlands with putting the land to work to grow the food that feeds the world.”
On that note: Reclamation is leveraging the water surplus to send pulse flows down the Sacramento River. The fast and cold currents will usher juvenile salmon along their journey to the ocean.