Representing California’s 16th District Fresno County · Merced County · Madera County
Sen. Feinstein, Reps. Costa, Cox Send Letter Urging Additional Water for Valley Farmers Following High Snowfall
Washington, D.C. – Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Jim Costa and TJ Cox sent a letter last week to the United States Bureau of Reclamation urging the Bureau to incorporate recent precipitation into the initial water allocations to Central Valley Project (CVP) water contractors given the high amount of rainfall and snow the region has experienced since the February 1st water forecast.
Farmers and ranchers use these allocations to efficiently plan their operations. The need for allocations that reflect real-time water supply realities was one driving factor in the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act provisions which direct the Secretary of the Interior to operate the CVP so it provides contractors with the “maximum quantity of water supplies practicable… as quickly as possible, based on available information.”
Sen. Feinstein and Reps. Costa and Cox state in their message that “storage in all CVP reservoirs was near or more than 100% the long-term average” before calling on the Bureau to “incorporate the benefits of recent snowfall and precipitation into its analysis to determine initial allocations to its contractors, instead of relying exclusively on the February 1 projections, which is no longer a realistic picture of available water supply.”
“Water is the lifeblood of our Valley. Farmers need early and accurate allocations in order to plan their operations,” said Rep. Costa (CA-16). “The recent rain and snow should be incorporated into the initial water allocations so our farmers, ranchers, and farm communities can continue to use water wisely and maximize the benefits. I am hopeful that the Bureau will listen to our message and allocate water to Central Valley Project water contractors based on the amount of water in California now, rather than on how much was available on February 1st.”
“Our district is one of the most agriculturally productive in the country – and our farmers and ranchers need certainty of water allocations,” said Rep. TJ Cox (CA-21). “I am hopeful that the Bureau of Reclamation takes the current conditions and higher rates of snowfall into account so that our communities can adequately plan for the year ahead.”
The officials close their message by urging the Bureau to also continue revising allocations through the remainder of the winter and spring as conditions change.
You can read the full letter sent to the United States Bureau of Reclamation online here.