Fresno projected to get zero federal water, but small cities will get some

Posted by Mark Grossi on February 22, 2014 

Orange Cove relies on water delivered through the Friant-Kern Canal.

CRAIG KOHLRUSS — Fresno Bee

My story Saturday about the zero water allocations for San Joaquin Valley farmers glossed over a nuance that should be reported. And federal officials got one thing wrong.

The city of Fresno is not projected to get Central Valley Project water, as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported Friday. With more than 200 wells around the city, Fresno does not rely on the water from Millerton Lake.

The story also said city customers, such as Orange Cove, Lindsay and Strathmore, would get water, amounting to 50% of their historic use. That's true, but it's not happening exactly the way the bureau reported it.

Instead of coming from regular water allotments in the Friant Division of the Central Valley Project, the water is part of an arrangement the federal government made to stop San Joaquin River restoration flows a month early.

The water saved by stopping the restoration flow is being made available to the small communities that rely on river water. 

There are other cities in different parts of the vast Central Valley Project that will receive an allotment equivalent to 50% of their historic use. Those cities include Tracy, Avenal, Coalinga and Huron.

In another update, I will explain the interesting way the restoration water will be made available to the small east-side communities with the help of Fresno Irrigation District.

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