California’s water conflict has escalated in recent days. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom released a new plan that would allocate a lot of the state’s water supply to agricultural interests, which the Golden State Salmon Association objected to, raising more concerns over an already precarious lack of water for struggling Central Valley king salmon.
California water news watchdog Maven’s Notebook updated the process today:
Based on current hydrology and forecasting, Reclamation is announcing the following initial CVP water supply allocations:
- Irrigation water service and repayment contractors north-of-Delta are allocated 35% of their contract total.
- Municipal and industrial water service and repayment contractors north-of-Delta are allocated 75% of their historic use or public health and safety needs, whichever, is greater.
- Sacramento River Settlement Contractors’ water supply is based upon settlement of claimed senior water rights. The 2023 water year is currently determined as non-critical, as defined in their Settlement Contracts, which allows for 100% of their contract supply.
- Irrigation water service and repayment contractors south-of-Delta are allocated 35% of their contract total.
- M&I water service and repayment contractors south-of-Delta are allocated 75% of their historical use.
- San Joaquin River Settlement Contractors and San Joaquin Exchange Contractors’ water supply is based upon settlement/exchange of claimed senior water rights. The 2023 water year is currently determined as non-critical, as defined in their contracts, which allows for 100% of their contract supply.
There were a lot of 100-percent allocations involved. Golden State Salmon Association president John McManus issued the following statement:
“Recently the state announced 100% water deliveries to some of its big ag water contractors and today the federal government announced many of their big ag water contractors will get 100% of their water diversions, all at the expense of the tens of thousands of working Californians who make a living on salmon. This follows Gavin Newsom’s announcement last week allowing increased water diversions which are killing salmon. Since Newsom’s announcement, water flowing out of the Delta has dropped by almost half. That water is needed to safely deliver this year’s baby salmon from the Central Valley to the ocean. Wiping out the state’s salmon and the other wildlife that share their habitat demonstrates that Gavin Newsom is a very poor steward of the environment. It’s also blatantly unfair and unjust, especially considering the relatively good shape of our reservoirs and the deep snowpack still in the Sierras. Newsom is showing he’s just another politician willing to sell out to the wealthy at the expense of regular working people in California.”