Making Sense of the 20 percent Water Allocation for farms south of the Delta
Tom Birmingham is the general manager of the Westlands water district. He comments on that 20% allocation. “The dry hydrology in 2020 has reduced our water supply as have the application of federal laws to the operations of the Federal Central Valley Project,” noted Birmingham.
“But relatively speaking, the 20% allocation is a blessing,” said Birmingham. “And I think the improvements in allocation are direct result of a number of actions taken by federal agencies, particularly The Bureau of Reclamation, The Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fishery Service,” he said.
In 2019, the Fish and Wildlife Service and The National Marine fisheries Service issued new biological opinions and those biological opinions, which are based on the best available science significantly improves the operational flexibility of the Central Valley Project and The State Water Project. And the improvement in water supply that we saw this year was a consequence of that restored flexibility.
Birmingham said Westlands has the ability to purchase water from other areas of the state and make it available for growers who often blend it with well water.