NEW: STATEMENT: Despite the abundance of water, shortages continue

STATEMENT: Despite the abundance of water, shortages continue

Today, the United States Bureau of Reclamation updated the allocations for south-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) agricultural water service contractors and for south-of-Delta CVP municipal and industrial water service contractors. The new allocations, 40% and 75%, respectively, are significantly less than reasonably could be made by Reclamation, and given current hydrological conditions, are inexplicable. The last hydrologic year, 2017, was the wettest year on record in the Sacramento River watershed, and presently, all CVP reservoirs are above their historic average (Shasta 111%, Folsom 113%, Trinity 105%, New Melones 135%, and San Luis 121%) for this date.
With the abundance of water, the 40% and 75% allocations reveal that regulations, not the availability of water, are creating supply shortages and impediments to the efficient operation of the CVP. “If the system cannot provide an adequate amount of water when water levels are above average, then clearly changes need to be made to the regulations governing the CVP,” said Jon Rubin, Interim Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority.
The allocations this year are particularly harmful to communities served by CVP water because they depend on higher allocations in years of water abundance to offset lower allocations in dry years. “The state’s groundwater aquifers need to be replenished when supplies are available but that cannot happen if water deliveries are limited when surface water is available to deliver to farmers,” said Rubin.

Rubin called on Reclamation and other federal agencies to reevaluate their decision-making process given the fact that the restrictive operations of the CVP have been counterproductive for all uses of water, including for environmental purposes. The federal government continues to report a decline in fish populations. Communities served by the CVP have received progressively lower allocations which has impacted groundwater and water quality. And, farmers have been forced to fallow land and cut food production due to the uncertainty around water deliveries.




Statement: Federal Funding Supports California Water Projects

Statement: Federal Funding Supports California Water Projects

Statement by Cannon Michael, Chairman
San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

In November 2014, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.  Voters approved this initiative, in large part, because they understood that the future of California depends on building new or enlarged water supply infrastructure, including surface storage projects.  Last week, Congress passed, on a bipartisan basis, H.R. 1625, which included funding for the Shasta Reservoir Enlargement Project, Sites Reservoir, and Temperance Flat Dam.  Members of Congress who advocated for these projects based their support on the same fact; the future of California depends on investing in new or enlarged water supply infrastructure.

“We are delighted that Congress included in this spending bill money for surface water storage projects,” said Cannon Michael, chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “This action presents the opportunity for a brighter future for California’s residents, its farms, and the environment,” he said.

Language in the bill included funding to complete feasibility studies for Sites and Temperance Flat reservoirs as well as $20 million for design and pre-construction work on raising Shasta Dam. “Each one of these projects is needed for the future of California, and each project will provide water for both the environment and people,” Michael said.  “Enlarging Shasta Dam will provide much needed flexibility to protect cold water for salmon that spawn below the Dam and water supplies for cities, refuges and farms throughout large areas of the State.”

“The flexibility created by increasing Shasta storage is essential for the Bureau of Reclamation to meet its obligations under federal law to operate the Central Valley Project for the benefit of the environment and people,” said Michael.  “This is a goal supported over the years by both Democrats and Republicans, and we appreciate the leadership of members on both sides of the aisle on the critical issue.”




Statement on Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership by SLDMWA Chairman

“The Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership is an innovative and new approach to restoring the ecosystem needs of salmon and steelhead in the Central Valley. Efforts over the past quarter century have not achieved the goals they set out to accomplish for either fish or the water user community and this approach represents a new path forward.
California needs reliable water supplies to sustain our farms, communities, and quality of life but that can’t happen when critical environmental resources are struggling. Guided by science, the Partnership of farmers, fishermen, scientists, state and federal agencies, and policy-makers can find and support projects that make a real difference for Central Valley salmon and steelhead.”
—Cannon Michael, SLDMWA Chair
For more information on the Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership, click here.



SLDMWA Members Partnering with State and Federal Agencies on Water Recycling Program

Collaborative program improving water management for communities, farms, and the environment

Federal, state and local partnerships can achieve a lot and that’s what happened recently with the announcement of more than $89 million in Proposition 1 funding for refuge water supply and conveyance improvement projects. San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority members Grassland, Del Puerto, and San Luis Water Districts have been working together and with the Cities of Modesto, Ceres, and Turlock to deliver more reliable water supplies to wildlife refuges and farms on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, while improving the quality of water being returned from our cities to the San Joaquin River. Together with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, these collaborative partnerships work towards meeting the 25-year old implementation of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. The addition of California’s Proposition 1 grant funding brings an important partner to the table.

Improving reliability for farms and wildlife refuges

Many people aren’t aware that some of California’s most important wildlife areas exist alongside some of the state’s most productive farmland. Grassland Water District General Manager Ric Ortega said, “This is huge. These awards will help deliver a significant amount of water critical to the refuges and farms in the Valley. These collaborative approaches are instrumental in sustaining our wildlife and our local ag economies in the long term. The cost share financial commitments that helped leverage these dollars recognize the role agricultural water users play in protecting our environment today and preserving it for generations to come.”

“This is just the latest of many examples of how recognized the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program is as a solution to the issues that South of the Delta water users face,” said Del Puerto General Manager Anthea Hansen. “We are pleased to celebrate the receipt of this grant with our partners at Grassland Water District, and look forward to working with them on this and other projects in the future,” she said.

Water bond funding improves wildlife areas across California

In addition to funding projects in Grassland Water District and other South of Delta refuges, Proposition 1 funds were also awarded to Biggs-West Gridley Water District for the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Water Supply Project and to Ducks Unlimited for the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge Lift Station Project.

 

Learn more about the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program.

 




Temperance Flat Dam Media Coverage

Temperance Flat Dam

 

Recent Temperance Flat Dam Media Coverage

A big dam east of Fresno has been talked about for years. Now it’s time to talk money  Fresno Bee,  8/24/27

State Assembly Speaker takes tour of proposed Temperance Flat location  KSEE,  8/23/17 

Speaker Rendon Hints At Support For Temperance Flat  KVPR,  8/22/17

Temperance Flat Dam one step closer  KMPH,  8/15/17

Valley leaders request $1.3 billion for Temperance Flat Dam  KSEE,  8/14/17

Supporters push to build $3 billion project at Temperance Flat Dam  KFSN,  8/14/17

Temperance Flat Dam investment will pay off for California  Modesto Bee,  8/13/17

 




Statement on San Joaquin River Water Infrastructure Authority Press Conference – Application Signing Ceremony

(The following is a revised statement by the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority on the San Joaquin River Water Infrastructure Authority Signing Ceremony) 

Statement by Cannon Michael, Chairman

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

“Today’s signing ceremony for the Water Infrastructure Authority application marks an important milestone for the water users we serve. A diverse group of stakeholders have joined together in a bold effort to advance water storage for California. As chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, I am proud to be a part of this historic action,” said Cannon Michael, chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority.

“Surface water is vital to California. From our agriculture to our information technology to environmental management, the cities, counties, tribes and public water agencies represented here share a common bond. That bond is the need for adequate and dependable water supplies. Thousands of farmers produce food and fiber on some of the most productive farmland anywhere for consumers that live right here in our back yard and around the world. And as the world leader in technology, Silicon Valley depends on adequate and dependable water supplies to fuel the innovation of the future.

“Temperance Flat Dam will enhance California’s water supply, both for economic purposes and also to provide important ecosystem benefits. Fisheries and wetlands, stream flow and riparian forests will all thrive in the future with the additional water this project will provide. It will also be an important part of our efforts to address climate change. If predictions are right, future storms will be warmer and wetter and our ability to depend on the Sierra snowpack will diminish. It is important to begin preparing for that today.

“We are confident that with projects like this, the Valley and the rest of California will be a better place for our farms, our communities, and the important ecosystem resources that contribute to our quality of life.”




Statement on 100% CVP South of Delta Allocation

Today’s announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) that allocations have been increased to 100 percent for South of Delta farms is welcome news and recognizes the abundance of this year’s near-record rainfall and snowpack.

The increased allocation is appreciated however the timing of the announcement comes after many planting decisions have been made. Many factors tie Reclamation’s hands including a web of over 15 federal, state and local agencies that have led to a broken system that fails to work well for anyone. Check out this infograph outlining the complex network of agencies involved.

We appreciate Reclamation’s willingness to allow farmers to use water they purchased and saved last year and is still sitting in storage. The threat of losing this water meant that farmers who conserved could have been punished for actual conservation.




JOINT STATEMENT: Four Water Agencies Sign Agreement Stating Temperance Flat Reservoir Cooperation

 Four Water Agencies Sign Agreement Stating Temperance Flat Reservoir Cooperation

 

Today four agencies representing water users in the San Joaquin Valley signed a joint letter pledging collaboration to develop the Temperance Flat Reservoir project on the San Joaquin River northeast of Fresno. The joint letter was signed this morning (March 31) during a news conference at Fresno City Hall. Signatories included representatives from the Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. The event was hosted by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, who pledged his support of the group’s ongoing efforts to jumpstart the reservoir project.

In the joint letter, addressed to California Water Commission Acting Executive Officer Taryn Ravazzini, the agencies pledge to work with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and contribute equally on staff, funding, support, and other resources to support the Temperance Flat project. Currently, the four agencies are collaborating on technical analyses and an operations plan that would build upon previous Temperance Flat studies, and also provide clarity to how partners in this project — including the State of California — could benefit from new investments in storage on the San Joaquin River. The stated goal of this effort is to develop and submit an application for Proposition 1 storage funding to the California Water Commission by August 14.

A new reservoir in the upper San Joaquin River watershed has been considered for decades to improve operational flexibility, water supply and reliability for the San Joaquin Valley’s water users. Temperance Flat Reservoir, which would have a capacity of 1.3 million acre-feet (2.5 times that of existing Millerton Lake), is proposed on a site several miles upstream from Friant Dam that was the originally proposed location for a Millerton-area reservoir in 1930. The present Friant Dam location was selected to reduce construction costs.

With the 2014 passage of Proposition 1, formally known as the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, California voters authorized $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds, which includes $2.7 billion for surface water storage development. The California Water Commission is administering the program to award grant funds to eligible projects through a competitive process.

“The limitations of California’s aging water infrastructure to meet present and future challenges have never been more apparent than today. Recent extremes we’ve experienced – back-to-back drought and flood years – demonstrate the challenges that new storage could help address,” said Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of the Friant Water Authority. “Temperance Flat would be connected to both the Delta and the extensive regional plumbing south of the Delta. The project could provide a secure place to store supplies for dry years, improve the capture of high flows for groundwater infiltration in wet years, and provide additional controllable supply that could improve water supply reliability or support ecosystems. Today’s letter provides an important step towards crystalizing the benefits of Temperance Flat and understanding how investors could share in them.”

“If the supply of food and fiber that is produced in the Central Valley and enjoyed by millions around the world is to continue, then a dependable water supply must be developed. California’s forefathers provided a foundation in water that has benefited us through the years and construction of Temperance Flat Reservoir enables us to build on that valuable history and provide an essential portion of the needed water supply that will benefit cities, disadvantaged communities, farms, groundwater recharge and responsible environmental benefits,” said Steve Chedester, Executive Director of the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority.

“Greatly reduced Central Valley Project water deliveries because of Delta environmental restrictions have been the rule for nearly a decade, with severe economic and social impacts caused by diminished water supplies for agriculture, cities and disadvantages rural communities, business and industry,” said Steve Worthley, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority President and Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. “Over the past year, the Authority and a growing number of other water agencies have worked tirelessly to support Temperance Flat and to encourage planning and development of other new valley water infrastructure.”

“A quarter century of failed regulatory fish policies has crippled the ability of the Central Valley Project to adequately serve its agricultural, municipal, and environmental responsibilities,” said Water Policy Administrator Ara Azhderian of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “These failed policies have hurt many working families, disadvantaged communities, wildlife refuges and the groundwater basins we all have had to rely upon to compensate for the loss of our promised surface water. Working together, regional water agencies, local government, communities and other stakeholders have come together to partner with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the State of California to develop Temperance Flat Dam. Temperance Flat has great potential to help restore lost water supply and recover our depleted groundwater basins, enhance fish and wildlife, and help rejuvenate the communities that provide so much for our state, nation and the world.”

“It completely defies logic to release water, which could be used for human, agricultural, or environmental use, out to the ocean, especially after five years of devastating drought conditions. The entire state of California needs its water infrastructure updated, and that includes building water storage projects, like Temperance Flat Dam. The future viability of the San Joaquin Valley is dependent upon a reliable water supply. Efforts to store water must be improved, both below and above ground, during wet years so water is available during the dry years.” – Congressman Jim Costa

 

Click here for a PDF version of the statement.

 




Joint Letter to Water Commission on Temperance Flat Reservoir

Four organizations, including the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, and San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, signed a letter today pledging to work collaboratively with the US Bureau of Reclamation as well as committing resources and funding to support the Temperance Flat Reservoir project. Read the letter here.

The reservoir site, long considered ideal for it’s ability to improve operational flexibility as well as improving water supply and reliability for water users sits several miles upstream of Friant Dam. When the Friant Dam site was chosen to cut costs, the Temperance Flats location provides 1.3 million acre-feet- approximately 2.5 times more storage capacity than Millerton Reservoir.

Read the full press release below, or click here for a PDF version.

 

Four Water Agencies Sign Agreement Stating Temperance Flat Reservoir Cooperation

Today four agencies representing water users in the San Joaquin Valley signed a joint letter pledging collaboration to develop the Temperance Flat Reservoir project on the San Joaquin River northeast of Fresno. The joint letter was signed this morning (March 31) during a news conference at Fresno City Hall. Signatories included representatives from the Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. The event was hosted by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, who pledged his support of the group’s ongoing efforts to jumpstart the reservoir project.

In the joint letter, addressed to California Water Commission Acting Executive Officer Taryn Ravazzini, the agencies pledge to work with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and contribute equally on staff, funding, support, and other resources to support the Temperance Flat project. Currently, the four agencies are collaborating on technical analyses and an operations plan that would build upon previous Temperance Flat studies, and also provide clarity to how partners in this project — including the State of California — could benefit from new investments in storage on the San Joaquin River. The stated goal of this effort is to develop and submit an application for Proposition 1 storage funding to the California Water Commission by August 14.

A new reservoir in the upper San Joaquin River watershed has been considered for decades to improve operational flexibility, water supply and reliability for the San Joaquin Valley’s water users. Temperance Flat Reservoir, which would have a capacity of 1.3 million acre-feet (2.5 times that of existing Millerton Lake), is proposed on a site several miles upstream from Friant Dam that was the originally proposed location for a Millerton-area reservoir in 1930. The present Friant Dam location was selected to reduce construction costs.

With the 2014 passage of Proposition 1, formally known as the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, California voters authorized $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds, which includes $2.7 billion for surface water storage development. The California Water Commission is administering the program to award grant funds to eligible projects through a competitive process.

“The limitations of California’s aging water infrastructure to meet present and future challenges have never been more apparent than today. Recent extremes we’ve experienced – back-to-back drought and flood years – demonstrate the challenges that new storage could help address,” said Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of the Friant Water Authority. “Temperance Flat would be connected to both the Delta and the extensive regional plumbing south of the Delta. The project could provide a secure place to store supplies for dry years, improve the capture of high flows for groundwater infiltration in wet years, and provide additional controllable supply that could improve water supply reliability or support ecosystems. Today’s letter provides an important step towards crystalizing the benefits of Temperance Flat and understanding how investors could share in them.”

“If the supply of food and fiber that is produced in the Central Valley and enjoyed by millions around the world is to continue, then a dependable water supply must be developed. California’s forefathers provided a foundation in water that has benefited us through the years and construction of Temperance Flat Reservoir enables us to build on that valuable history and provide an essential portion of the needed water supply that will benefit cities, disadvantaged communities, farms, groundwater recharge and responsible environmental benefits,” said Steve Chedester, Executive Director of the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority.

“Greatly reduced Central Valley Project water deliveries because of Delta environmental restrictions have been the rule for nearly a decade, with severe economic and social impacts caused by diminished water supplies for agriculture, cities and disadvantages rural communities, business and industry,” said Steve Worthley, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority President and Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. “Over the past year, the Authority and a growing number of other water agencies have worked tirelessly to support Temperance Flat and to encourage planning and development of other new valley water infrastructure.”

“A quarter century of failed regulatory fish policies has crippled the ability of the Central Valley Project to adequately serve its agricultural, municipal, and environmental responsibilities,” said Water Policy Administrator Ara Azhderian of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “These failed policies have hurt many working families, disadvantaged communities, wildlife refuges and the groundwater basins we all have had to rely upon to compensate for the loss of our promised surface water. Working together, regional water agencies, local government, communities and other stakeholders have come together to partner with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the State of California to develop Temperance Flat Dam. Temperance Flat has great potential to help restore lost water supply and recover our depleted groundwater basins, enhance fish and wildlife, and help rejuvenate the communities that provide so much for our state, nation and the world.”

“It completely defies logic to release water, which could be used for human, agricultural, or environmental use, out to the ocean, especially after five years of devastating drought conditions. The entire state of California needs its water infrastructure updated, and that includes building water storage projects, like Temperance Flat Dam. The future viability of the San Joaquin Valley is dependent upon a reliable water supply. Efforts to store water must be improved, both below and above ground, during wet years so water is available during the dry years.” – Congressman Jim Costa




Joint letter to SWRCB on Bay-Delta Plan amendments and SED

Joint letter recommends the adoption of “Functional Flows” and comprehensive management over continued single-practice management

SLDMWA and Westlands Water District recently sent a comment letter to the State Water Resources Control Board on proposed amendments to the Bay-Delta Plan. The letter, available here, notes that flow regimes, often called “Functional Flow” approaches, are superior to the one being advanced by the SWRCB in current documents.

The letter notes that “under the existing flow-centric approach, which relies upon flow as the master variable and master solution, few beneficial uses of the water involved have been adequately protected. The diagnostic inertia of the current flow-centric regulatory regime has had real, adverse social and economic impacts.”

Fish populations haven’t recovered under existing flow-centric management approaches, but impacts and costs continue to rise

The letter notes the failure of Fish populations and water supplies for urban and agricultural communities and waterfowl have all declined. The painful lessons of the past twenty years have demonstrated that adding flow will not redress most of the physical, chemical and biological changes that have occurred within the watersheds for the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

After many decades of managing the ecosystem primarily by regulating the storage, release and diversion of water – the flow of water – a new approach is necessary.