The Bureau of Reclamation announced Monday an agreement between water contractors and agencies that will increase the federal water allocation for the Friant Division from 65 to 75 percent of contracted amounts.
That’s the fourth increase since April 1 when 30 percent of Class 1 water, an additional 100,000 acre-feet of “uncontrolled season” supply, was first made available for Valley farmers and water irrigation districts.
Class 1 water is generally the supply that can be managed through storage regulation and delivered at the contractor’s convenience.
But unlike the early allocations, made available to avert flood control concerns, this latest supply was made possible by negotiating with Friant Division contractors, Kern County Water Agency and others.
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The exchange involves the Friant Division moving water through the Friant-Kern Canal to the Kern County agency which in exchange will make an equal amount of water available in the San Luis Reservoir where it will be available for those contracted to receive water.
We’re working our way through the fifth year of drought, so we’re looking to move the water when we have it.
Louis Moore, Bureau of Reclamation’s deputy public affairs officer
“It’s water that the other contractors had available to them and we’ve negotiated, making an agreement with them to provide water,” said Louis Moore, the bureau’s deputy public affairs officer.
“We’re working our way through the fifth year of drought, so we’re looking to move the water when we have it,” Moore said.
The agreement also helps to ensure that the Bureau can continue to meet its obligations and commitments from San Luis Reservoir storage and water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the agency said.
Ryan Jacobsen, chief executive officer and executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, welcomed the extra water, particularly since the Friant Division received zero percent allocation in the last two years.
“Any increase in the supply of water is a good thing for both agriculture and the municipalities who contract for Friant water,” Jacobsen said.
But the latest allocation is on the late side, he said, showing uncertainties in the water predictions for the year or what was expected from the mountains. “We are far from getting out of this drought.”