Statement by Federico Barajas regarding the March Water Allocation Update by the Bureau of Reclamation

Sacramento, CA – Today, the United States Bureau of ReclamationPhoto of Federico Barajas (“Reclamation”) provided an update to the initial Central Valley Project 2023 water supply allocation announced in February. Since making initial allocations last month, Shasta and San Luis Reservoirs have experienced significant increases in reservoir storage levels.

“Given the significant increases in reservoir storage and snowpack measurements, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority is pleased to see an increase in water allocations for Authority member agencies,” said Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “California continues to experience rapid hydrologic changes, with a number of atmospheric rivers delivering much needed rainfall and snowpack following the three driest years in California’s recorded history and the resulting devastating impacts to communities served by Authority member agencies.”

“Despite this positive news for this year’s allocations, the decades long delay in investment in water storage and conveyance infrastructure has resulted in large volumes of water being uncaptured for use – water that has caused the devastating harm that many underserved communities have experienced from flooding impacts. Water storage and conveyance infrastructure has multiple benefits, including increasing resilience to both droughts and floods. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires more sustainable conjunctive use – but we must be able to capture maximum sustainable quantities of water in years like this to fully implement the Act without undue harm to communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The time to act is now.”

Today’s announcement increases the allocations for Authority member agencies announced last month. Reclamation announced the following changes to Authority member agency allocations:

  • Irrigation water service and repayment contractors have increased to 80 percent from 35 percent of their contract totals.
  • Municipal and Industrial (M&I) service and repayment contractors have increased to 100 percent from 75 percent of their historical use.

Earlier this week, California’s Department of Water Resources also announced an increase in the allocation for State Water Project Contractors from 35 percent to 75 percent. As the water year progresses, changes in hydrology, actions that impact operations, and opportunities to deliver additional water will influence future allocations.

About Us: The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority was established in January of 1992 and consists of 27 member agencies within the western San Joaquin, San Benito, and Santa Clara Valleys, that provide water service to approximately 1,200,000 acres of irrigated agriculture, 2.5 million people, including many living in economically disadvantaged communities, and 130,000 acres of managed wetlands of importance to the Pacific Flyway.