STATEMENT: Statement by Federico Barajas regarding the Initial 2022 CVP Water Allocation Announcement by the Bureau of Reclamation

Sacramento, CA – Today, the United States Bureau of Reclamation (“Reclamation”) announced the initial 2022 Central Valley Project water supply allocation. In response, Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (“Authority”), released the following statement:

“The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (“Authority”) understands that dry hydrology is the main driver in the low initial allocations for our member agencies and the communities and ecosystems they serve. The Authority wishes that the initial allocation were higher, but understands that hydrologic conditions and the uncertainty associated with litigation over water project operations have prohibited Reclamation from making a higher initial allocation, despite the optimism from the rainfall California experienced in October and December.

“The last decade – in which Authority members received water allocations below 20% six times and above 75% only twice – continues to reinforce that California’s rainfall and snowpack patterns are changing and that our water management strategies must adapt to this change.

“The challenge before us demands long-term and sustainable solutions – we must invest in the maintenance, improvement and restoration of our critical infrastructure that serves as the backbone of California, we must increase our ability to store water during those flood years for the droughts we know will come, and we must improve the operational flexibility of our system so that we can respond to the challenges each water year presents.

“The recent passage of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act by Congress, which provides significant increases in funding for water infrastructure throughout the west, and California’s budget surplus, give us hope that these long-term solutions may be initiated. However, the time to invest is now – we cannot allow this moment to pass without meaningful action to build water resilience for the communities and ecosystems served by the Authority’s member agencies.

“Authority staff will continue to work with Reclamation and its member agencies to analyze hydrologic conditions in hopes the allocation can be increased as early as practicable.”

Today’s announcement marks the second consecutive year where Authority irrigation water service and repayment member agencies received a 0% water allocation. Water supply updates are posted on Reclamation California-Great Basin Region’s website.