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Central Valley Project farmers to receive 55 percent of water allocation

POSTED March 25, 2011 9:58 p.m.

The Federal Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that Central Valley Project water users will receive 100 percent of their annual allocation – except for south of the Delta, where agricultural contractors will receive just 55 percent of their annual allocation, and municipal and industrial users will receive 80 percent of the allocation.

The low allocation will not affect farmers in the Turlock Irrigation District service area, but will impact water-starved farmers in the Westside’s Del Puerto Irrigation District and Fresno County.

The Bureau of Reclamation said the limited allocation – despite a water year exceeding the annual average – indicates the need for changes to the Delta-Mendota canal system, which carries water for CVP users.

“In this type of water year, a 55-percent allocation for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors - which is below the 20-year average final allocation of 62 percent - reinforces the critical need for a long-term solution to improving California's water supply reliability,” said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. “While there may be opportunities to increase the South-of-Delta allocation over the next several weeks, we remain committed to working with our partners to develop the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan."

U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Atwater), however, said the low allocation is inexcusable in the current water year, and is a result of water policies which value fish over farms.

“It is ridiculous that farmers will only receive 55 percent of the water allocated to them in their contracts this year,” Denham said.  “With reservoirs in flood operations and 300,000 acre-feet of water flowing from the Delta into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis, it is inexcusable that farmers south of the Delta are not receiving 100 percent allocation.

“The Administration’s support of extreme environmental policies has hampered the farmers and families of the Central Valley for too long,” Denham continued. “The time for inaction is over. In order to bolster the economic growth and create jobs we must get our priorities straight and bring water to the Valley.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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