As expected the federal Bureau of Reclamation announced another cut in its water allocation through the Central Valley Project on Wednesday.

But the initial water allocation announced in February for growers locally in the Friant Division remains in tact for now.

The federal government drastically cut its CVP water allocation for municipal and irrigation water agencies from 55 percent to 25 percent of normal.

The Bureau of Reclamation didn't announce a cut for the Friant Division, leaving that allocation at 20 percent for Class 1 Friant Division contractors or 160,000 acre feet. Class 2 contractors in the Friant Division haven't received any allocation of water.

The Friant Division provides water for 15,000 family farms and several cities in the Central Valley.

In announcing the reduction from 55 to 25 percent for municipal water agencies north and south of the Delta, the Bureau of Reclamation stated that allocation may be adjusted in accordance with the CVP M&I Shortage policy.

For growers in the northern part of the Valley and in the Sacramento area, they also officially received notice they would be receiving no CVP project water. The Bureau of Reclamation suspended the initial 5 percent allocation and officially reduced that allocation to 0 percent on Wednesday.

So many farm-irrigation districts that belong to the Central Valley Project will get no water at all this year, the first time that’s happened since 2015.

“As the water year progresses, changes in hydrology and opportunities to deliver additional water will influence future allocation decisions,” the Bureau of Reclamation stated. The agency stated water supply updates will be made as appropriate and posted at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvp-water/index.html. 

Governor Gavin Newsom recently expanded his drought emergency to 41 counties, which included the Central Valley and Tulare County. The expanded drought emergency could give more flexibility on how to use water, but doesn't help as far as the reduced amount of water that's allocated.

Allocation amounts are based on an estimate of water available for delivery to CVP water users and reflects current reservoir storages, precipitation, and snowpack in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada.  

“The initial CVP water supply allocation was announced in February. Since then, hydrologic conditions have degraded,” the Bureau of Reclamation stated. “The 2021 water year for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Basin is currently the driest since 1977. Between the April 1 and May 1 forecasts, there was a 685,000 acre-feet reduction in the projected natural flow to the Sacramento, Feather, Yuba, and American rivers.”

The State Department of Water Resources has announced a 5 percent allocation of 210,266 acre-feet of water to be distributed among the 29 contractors who serve more than 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. The state is expected to update that allocation sometime this month.

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