Farmers south of California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta can expect to receive about 10 percent of their federally allocated water this spring, so says the U.S. Department of the Interior. That’s up from zero, after heavy rain- and snow-fall in the Sierra’s had the Bureau of Reclamation reassess earlier predictions Tuesday.
Consumers north of the Delta faired somewhat better, with the Feds releasing some 15 percent of their contracted water allocations.
The new numbers have farmers breathing a sigh of relief, as the three-year drought in the region persists. However, Reclamation also warned that the Central Valley remains in a state of severe water-stress and recognized “the significant economic hardship created by water supply shortages throughout the CVP [Central Valley Project] service area.”
Supplying the state and nation with tomatoes, almonds, grapes, cotton, apricots, lettuce and asparagus, the Central Valley is a vital growing region for California and the United States as a whole. Earlier this year, Governor Schwarzenegger emphasized the severity of the drought, “This is a crisis, just as severe as an earthquake or raging wildfire.”
Reclamation will continue to monitor rainfall and snowmelt in the region, adjusting allocation amounts as needed.
Source : Bureau of Reclamation Press Release
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org