Drought and Recession | Ecosystem Health | Jobs from the Delta | Water Allocations
More than 150 other water contractors in the Central Valley are receiving 100% of their water allocations this year, though some junior water contractors like the Westlands Water District may receive as little as 10% of their contractual amount this year.
According to the California Division of Water Resources (DWR), irrigators receiving decreased flows have been able to make up a large portion of their normal water usage through a combination of Delta water pumping, carrying over water from last season, groundwater pumping and water exchanges. Supplementing a May 15th letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein, they reported these numbers:
- Westlands Water District - 86% of average water use (993,000 acre feet of water)
- Friant Water Users Authority - 74% of average water use (920,000 acre feet)
- Kern County Water Agency - 85% of average water use (2,898,000 acre feet)
- Modesto Irrigation District - 89% of average use (200,000 acre feet)
- San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors - 100% of average (840,000 acre feet)
- Note: There is some disagreement with these figures according to the DWR local representative in the San Joaquin Valley.
In April, DWR director Lester Snow testified before congress and stated that without the Delta Smelt pumping protections, the Central Valley Project's water deliveries to the San Juaquin Valley would only be 5 percent higher.
The Governor's Delta Vision Strategic Plan recommended that California reduce its reliance on the Bay Delta, and invest in alternative, regional water supplies like groundwater banking, water conservation and efficiency, and water recycling. Investments in these alternative water supplies have the potential to yield more water each year than has ever been exported out of the Delta, without the significant environmental harm to the Delta's fish and wildlife.