Low Water Allocations for Valley Contractors
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently announced that the initial allocation for South-of-Delta agricultural repayment and water service contractors is 5%. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says growers on the eastern side of his county are faring better, but not by much.
Jacobsen…. “The Friant contractors today received the news that they were going to be receiving a 20% class one allocation . While that's not good. It's obviously much better than the 5% allocation we're seeing for the federal contractors on the Western side of the County.”
Jacobsen says there is less water to go around this year with minimal winter rains and very little snowpack.
Jacobsen… “We're dependent upon five to seven good storms to make or break a season, and we have not seen that whatsoever. We've really only had one and a half good storms. So therefore we are in a deficit because of what mother nature has provided. But up in the Delta there, we have our issues in regards to just wielding water through there because of the ESA issues. Because of the new biological opinions it does help somewhat based off of the conditions of where the delta is kind of where the pumping takes place. But in years, like this year, we've got to have some basic amount of water and that just hasn't come to fruition yet.”
Recent studies have shown that reductions in surface water availability in the Central Valley can cause approximately 194,000 acres of land to be taken out of production, more than $1.3 billion in lost crop revenue and thousands of job losses.