Employment Opportunity: Executive Director

The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority is seeking candidates for the position of Executive Director. Additional information is available here.




5/25/18: Statement: Water allocation inches up despite abundant supplies in reservoirs

Water allocation inches up despite abundant supplies in reservoirs

Today, the United States Bureau of Reclamation inched up the allocation for south-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) agricultural water service contractors by raising the expected amount of water to be delivered from 40% to 45%. The new allocation is still less than reasonably could be made by Reclamation. Last year’s record hydrologic year left a tremendous amount of water in the system, yet allocations remain low for many Central Valley Project water users.

“Water users today were dismayed by the relatively small allocation increase announced by Reclamation,” said Cannon Michael, chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “It is unbelievable that the statewide average for CVP reservoirs is almost 108 percent of normal, yet South of Delta farmers are left with a 45 percent allocation,” he said.

The last hydrologic year, 2017, was the wettest year on record in the Sacramento River watershed, and presently, most CVP reservoirs remain above their historic average.

With the abundance of water, the 45% allocation reveals 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 Frances Mizuno, 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 Mizuno.

“Reclamation, along with other federal agencies must reevaluate the decision-making process when these conservative and restrictive operations create enormous hardships for agricultural, urban and environmental water users,” said Michael. “The federal government continues to tell us about declining in fish populations and yet it resorts to the same ineffective policies of the past,” he said.

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 uncertainly around water deliveries.




Statement: Del Puerto Water District Receives Prestigious Water Award for Excellence

Del Puerto Water District Receives Prestigious Water Award for Excellence

Del Puerto Water District, a member of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, has been awarded the prestigious Clair A. Hill Award for Excellence for its innovative North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program. The District received top honors among a statewide field of competitors for its project to deliver highly treated wastewater from the cities of Turlock and Modesto to farmland and wildlife refuges on the Westside.

The North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program addresses water supply shortages in the District’s service area, located on the west side of the San Joaquin River in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties. This first-of its-kind recycled water program delivers tertiary-treated water through a cross-valley pipeline from Turlock and Modesto to the Delta-Mendota Canal. From there water is distributed to more than 45,000 acres of farmland and Central Valley Project-designated wildlife refuges.

Del Puerto Water District General Manager Anthea Hansen said the recycled water program was the result of a lot of hard work among many partners, including Turlock, Modesto, the Bureau of Reclamation and numerous wildlife organizations. The recycled water program is currently operating under a new 40-year contract with its partnering agencies. The program represents the first ever introduction of recycled water into a federal Reclamation facility, made possible by a landmark policy change within the federal agency.

“We are thrilled to have been selected from the list of many worthwhile projects and it demonstrates the value of collaboration among our stakeholders to create a successful program,” said Hansen.

The North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program is the single largest project on behalf of the refuges since the passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act over 25 years ago.

“This is a big milestone to help farms with more reliable water supplies and helps achieve a good portion of the supplemental needs of the refuges for a very long time,” Hansen said.

Del Puerto Water District is located near Patterson, California. It was one of four finalists for the Clair A. Hill Award, which was presented at the Association of California Water Agencies annual conference on May 10 in Sacramento. Del Puerto Water District has the honor of awarding a $5,000 scholarship to a deserving student in the name of Hill, founder of CH2M, now Jacobs, the award sponsor.

The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority serves 28 member public agencies, 26 of which contract with Reclamation for water supply from the CVP. These agencies deliver water to approximately 1.2 million acres of farmland, 2 million California residents, and millions of waterfowl dependent upon the nearly 200,000 acres of managed wetlands within the Pacific Flyway.

Other finalists competing for the award included the Long Beach Water Department for a program that recognizes restaurant water efficiency programs, Mesa Water District for a program to test the integrity of its pipelines, and Reclamation District #2035 for a joint fish screen project serving both urban and agricultural water needs.

 

Learn more about the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program, by clicking here.




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.