Archive for the 'California' Category

May 24 2013

CA: Lessard named to head central BuRec office

David Murillo, Regional Director for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region, announces the selection of Drew Lessard as Area Manager for the Central California Area Office, located at Folsom Dam, 23 miles east of Sacramento. As the Area Manager, Lessard is responsible for the operation of Folsom, Nimbus, New Melones and Monticello dams.

“Drew has worked at CCAO since 2000 as a Civil Engineer, as the Deputy Area Manager and most recently as the Acting Area Manager. With his experience, management skills and expertise working with customers and stakeholders, he is the ideal choice for this critical position,” stated Murillo.

As Area Manager, Lessard is responsible for Reclamation programs and facilities in the central part of California. CCAO encompasses twelve counties and includes the Central Valley Project’s American River Division (Folsom Dam, powerplant and reservoir; Nimbus Dam and powerplant and Lake Natoma), the Auburn-Folsom South Unit (the Auburn Dam site and the Folsom-South Canal), the Eastside Division (New Melones Dam, powerplant and reservoir on the Stanislaus River) and the Solano Project (Monticello Dam, Lake Berryessa and the Putah South Canal).

CCAO’s jurisdiction extends from the coast to the crest of the Sierra Nevada and from the American River Basin to the Stanislaus River Basin. CCAO manages recreation at Lake Berryessa and New Melones and has a long-term managing partnership agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation for recreation management at Folsom Lake, Lake Natoma and the Auburn Recreation Area.

Comments Off

May 24 2013

CA: Assessment in for Tehema-Colusa canals

The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the approval of five-year Warren Act contracts for conveyance of non-Central Valley Project groundwater in the Tehama-Colusa and Corning canals in Northern California, when excess capacity is available. The 30-day public comment period for the Draft EA and FONSI ended on May 13; no comments were received.

The contracts will be with seven or more of the 17 water districts served by the Sacramento Canals Unit of the CVP for a five-year period beginning with Water Contract Year 2013. A combined total of up to 44,000 acre-feet could be transported in each year. Groundwater would be pumped from existing wells and conveyed through existing facilities.

The Final Environmental Assessment and Findings of No Significant Impact were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and are available online at

Comments Off

May 24 2013

CA: Environment docs released on Kern bank

Published by under California,water bank

The Bureau of Reclamation on May 24 released final environmental documents for a proposed action to allow the Kern-Tulare Water District to bank a maximum of 40,000 acre-feet of Central Valley Project water and non-CVP water in the West Kern Water District Groundwater Bank.

The proposed action includes the return of half the water to Kern-Tulare Water District with the other half left in West Kern Water District as compensation for banking services. The agreement between the two water districts would be in effect for 25 years.

The Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and are available at

Comments Off

May 24 2013

New water banking rules viewed for valley

The Bureau of Reclamation has released Draft Water Banking Criteria for banking Central Valley Project water outside of a contractor’s contract service area. Reclamation developed these criteria to implement water banking as authorized by the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and as allowed by certain federal contracts.

Reclamation recognizes groundwater banking as an important water management tool in optimizing the use of CVP water while addressing groundwater overdraft in certain areas.

These criteria will apply to contractors under contract with Reclamation for water service or repayment, water rights settlement, exchange, or other applicable contracts requesting to bank CVP water outside of their contract service area. These criteria set forth the standards under which Reclamation may approve banking and recovering of CVP water outside of the contractor’s contract service area boundary, while protecting the integrity of the CVP.

Written comments on the criteria must be received by the close of business on June 21

Comments Off

May 21 2013

CA/NM: Studies seek to stretch SW water

Published by under California

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor today announced that Reclamation has selected five Title XVI water reuse projects in California and New Mexico to receive $15.6 million in funding through the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART program.

“This funding can help communities in California and New Mexico stretch their water supplies using time-tested methodologies and piloting new concepts,” said Secretary Jewell. “We all want to make sure that we’re using water efficiently and sustainably, and the WaterSMART program establishes a cohesive framework to provide federal leadership and assistance to our local partners as we work together to tackle this challenge.”

“Through this program, Reclamation is able to partner with local entities to provide needed water for municipal, industrial, agricultural, recreational and environmental needs,” Commissioner Connor said. “This is necessary for a secure water supply that improves the environment, supports jobs and ensures a clean water supply.”

Five congressionally authorized Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse projects in California and New Mexico will receive cost-shared funding for planning, design and construction of their projects. The Title XVI program focuses on identifying and investigating opportunities to reclaim and reuse wastewaters and naturally impaired ground and surface water in the 17 western states and Hawaii.

The Albuquerque Metropolitan Area Water Reclamation and Reuse Project in New Mexico will use $1.89 million to design and construct an expanded treatment system at the Southside Water Reclamation Plant. The project expects to save 2,500 acre-feet of water annually in addition to the 3,000 acre-feet of reclaimed water produced by other components of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area Water Reclamation and Reuse Project.

The North Bay Water Reuse Program in northern California will receive $4 million to provide recycled water to agricultural, environmental, industrial and landscape uses throughout Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties. It will include upgrades to the treatment processes and construction of storage, pipelines and pump station facilities to distribute recycled water. It will reduce the reliance on local and imported surface and groundwater supplies and reduce the amount of effluent released into San Pablo Bay and its tributaries.

Other projects receiving funding in California are Long Beach Area Water Reclamation Project ($1.7 million), San Jose Area Water Reclamation and Reuse Program ($4 million) and Watsonville Area Water Recycling Project ($4 million).

Interior established WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) in February 2010 to facilitate the work of Interior’s bureaus in pursuing a sustainable water supply for the nation. Since its establishment in 2010, WaterSMART has provided more than $139 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities, and universities through WaterSMART Grants and the Title XVI Program.

The proposals were ranked through a published set of criteria in which points were awarded for projects that effectively stretch water supplies and contribute to water supply sustainability, address water quality concerns or benefit endangered species; incorporate the use of renewable energy or address energy efficiency; deliver water at a reasonable cost relative to other water supply options; and that meet other program goals.

Comments Off

Apr 17 2013

CA: BuRec updates CVP 2013 allocation

After reviewing the manual snow survey data from the California Department of Water Resources that was provided the week of April 8, the Bureau of Reclamation has determined that due to persistent dry conditions an additional adjustment to the Friant Division allocation is necessary.

In consultation with the Friant Division Contractors and in consideration of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program release schedule, the Friant Division Class 1 water supply allocation is decreased from 55 percent to 50 percent. Class 2 water remains at 0 percent.

Currently, precipitation in the Upper San Joaquin River watershed at Huntington Lake is about 19.7 inches, which is about 53 percent of average for this time of year. Additionally, accumulated natural river flow to date for WY 2013 for the Upper San Joaquin Basin is about 400,000 acre-feet which is about 22 percent of the total water year average of 1.8 million acre-feet, and about 65 percent of the historical average for this date.

Comments Off

Apr 16 2013

CA: Contract negotiations continue

Published by under California

The Department of Water Resources will begin negotiations in a public forum with State Water Project contractors to develop contract amendments to extend the term and change certain financial provisions of their water supply contracts.

The first negotiation session is scheduled for May 1, 2013. Negotiations are expected to last at least three months. An environmental review process, under the California Environmental Quality Act, will follow with opportunity for additional public participation. A final CEQA document analyzing possible environmental impacts is expected in early 2015.

Water supply contracts were negotiated and signed in the 1960’s to provide a water service to the SWP contractors in exchange for payments that provide for SWP financing, capital construction, improvements, and operations and maintenance of SWP facilities. The first of these contracts terminate in the year 2035 and the last terminates in 2042.

Comments Off

Apr 15 2013

CA: BuRec outlines CVP strategy

The driest January through March on record is causing water supply challenges for much of California, particularly for the Central Valley Project agricultural water service contractors in the western San Joaquin Valley. The Bureau of Reclamation, working closely with the California Department of Water Resources, has implemented several actions to improve water supply conditions south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the greatest extent possible and is preparing to implement certain additional actions in the near future.

Five specific actions are improving CVP water supplies by more than 100,000 acre-feet to support current westside water allocations. Several other actions to augment future water supplies, including water transfers, could total another 200,000 acre-feet. In addition, new rescheduling guidelines implemented by Reclamation this past winter has allowed CVP contractors to carry over 225,000 acre-feet of their 2012 supplies for use in 2013.

“Reclamation is currently working every prudent avenue, with our partner agencies and customers, to deliver water to where it is needed in this critically dry year,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “For the long-term, successful completion of the BDCP, including a new diversion and conveyance facility, would have state of the art protections for the benefit of endangered fish species, would help restore some of the natural flow of water through the Delta, and would provide some certainty and stability to California’s water supply.”

The CVP provides water for agricultural, municipal and industrial, and environmental purposes through complex processes, driven by numerous factors, including hydrology, operational limitations, environmental considerations, regulations, court decisions and a changing climate.

Actions that have been included as factors in calculating the current CVP allocation for south-of-Delta water service contractors:

Delta-Mendota Canal Intertie: Use of the Intertie between the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct, located in Alameda County, west of Tracy, Calif. The Intertie has been used to improve water supplies by 38,000 acre-feet to date in 2013.

Yuba River Accord: Through agreement with the California Department of Water Resources, a portion of the water made available by the Yuba County Water Agency will add to CVP supplies this summer. After system losses, the CVP will likely receive about 24,000 acre-feet.

CVP Water Use Flexibility: Under a “flexibility” agreement, the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors have used alternative sources of water supply early in the year to delay use of CVP water supplies from the Delta. This potentially provides more Delta water supplies for delivery to CVP water service contractors on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley during the peak irrigation season. About 9,000 acre-feet of water demand is projected to be shifted for user later in the year.

Stanislaus River Fishery Flows: Reclamation is accommodating the release of water from senior water rights holders on the Stanislaus River for fishery benefits, with secondary benefits of improving Delta exports to the CVP and State Water Project. The water would be released from New Melones Reservoir in April and May, and a portion would be diverted for CVP and SWP use. About 30,000 acre-feet will likely be available for supplemental CVP allocation.

Refuge Groundwater Pumping: Groundwater wells in the Grasslands Resource Conservation District and the Grassland Water District will be available to pump additional water. Half of the water pumped will be used to meet refuge Level 2 water demands in lieu of using CVP water, with a like amount of water going back into the CVP yield for allocation to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The estimated total quantity of pumped groundwater will be about 4,000 acre-feet, making

2,000 acre-feet available to improve CVP supplies.

Reclamation’s actions to augment future water supplies include:

Water Banking: Since 2001, Reclamation has approved 20 requests from CVP contractors to bank CVP water for use in dry years. So far this year, Reclamation has approved the return of 20,000 acre-feet of banked CVP water to south-of-Delta water users for the 2013 water year.

Water Transfers: Reclamation approves the transfer of CVP water and enters into Warren Act contracts for the movement and storage of non-CVP water transfers. Reclamation is evaluating the quantity and timing of water transfer opportunities through the Delta this summer. Transfers allow CVP contractors to augment their CVP allocation. Potential transfers include north-to-south transfers of Yuba River water, estimated at 50,000 acre-feet; east-to-west transfers of 37,000 acre-feet; and San Joaquin River Exchange Contractor Long-Term Transfer Program transfers of about 62,000 acre-feet. Reclamation has approved a south-of-Delta water rights transfer of 12,000 acre-feet and San Joaquin Valley in-basin transfers of 5,620 acre-feet.

Reclamation’s actions are helping to offset the impacts of this year’s dry hydrology, exacerbated earlier this winter when pumping was restricted for a certain period of time to protect salmon and other fish species, leading to the loss of approximately 250,000 acre-feet of water for south-of-Delta CVP contractors.

Comments Off

Mar 22 2013

CA: State cuts delivery estimate

Published by under California

The Department of Water Resources on March 22 decreased this year’s water delivery estimate from 40 to 35 percent of requested State Water Project water.

The reduced allocation is due primarily to a record dry January and February in Northern California, where key reservoirs capture water to supply millions of Californians. Weather so far in March also has been relatively dry. California normally receives more than 90 percent of its rain and snow from December through April.

Pumping restrictions this winter in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect salmon and Delta smelt also limit the ability of DWR to meet requests for State Water Project supplies.

November and December were relatively wet, but between November 1 and February 28, restrictions to minimize harm to native fish prevented DWR from pumping more than 550,000 acre-feet of water from the Delta to store at San Luis Reservoir. San Luis is a critical summer supply pool for the SWP and the federal Central Valley Project. As of late March the reservoir was 63 percent full.

If DWR did not have to rely solely on its south Delta pumping plant and had a north Delta diversion on the Sacramento River, as proposed by the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the department could have moved water to
San Luis Reservoir while meeting existing salmon and Delta smelt protections. The ability to divert that water in the wake of winter storms likely would have led to a higher allocation for SWP water supply contractors this year.

“We reduced pumping this winter to protect fish from reverse flows in south Delta streams that entrain fish and divert them from their migratory routes,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “The new intakes and habitat restoration proposed by the BDCP would mitigate this problem. These ongoing conflicts will continue until we fundamentally change the way we convey water from the Delta.”

Last week, the California Natural Resources Agency began releasing draft chapters of the BDCP, which aims to both halt the decline of native fish populations in the Delta and stabilize the delivery of water from the Delta. For more information, visit

The 29 public agencies that buy water from the SWP have requested slightly more than four million acre-feet from the project. Together, these agencies supply water to 25 million Californians and nearly a million acres of farmland.

Today’s water delivery estimate may change if hydrologic conditions improve.

Water content in the snowpack, which begins to melt around the first of April, is 57 percent of normal for the date and 56 percent of a full season’s average.

Reservoir storage will help California cope with dry weather. Lake Oroville in Butte County, the SWP’s principal storage reservoir, is at 109 percent of average for the date (82 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity). Lake Shasta north of Redding, the federal Central Valley Project’s largest reservoir with a capacity of 4.5 million acre-feet, is at 103 percent of its normal storage level for the date (82 percent of capacity).

Reservoirs will supply most water needs this year, but successive dry years would bring drought conditions to some regions of the state.

The final allocation of SWP water in calendar year 2012 was 65 percent of requested deliveries. The allocation was 80 percent in 2011, 50 percent in 2010, 40 percent in 2009, 35 percent in 2008, and 60 percent in 2007. The last 100 percent allocation – difficult to achieve even in wet years because of restrictions on Delta pumping to protect native fish species – was in 2006.

Electronic snowpack readings are available on the Internet at:

Comments Off

Mar 22 2013

CA: BuRec adjusts Valley supply

As a result of extremely dry conditions in California, the Bureau of Reclamation on March 22 announced an update to the Water Year 2013 water supply allocation for the Central Valley Project.

Following a wet start to the water year in November and December 2012, the January – March period is tracking to be the driest on record, resulting in a critical classification for both the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins based on the 90-percent exceedence forecast. Reclamation is announcing a decrease in the allocation for the following South-of-Delta water service contractors:

Agricultural water service contractors’ allocation is decreased from 25 to 20 percent of their contract supply.
Municipal & Industrial contractors’ allocation is decreased from 75 to 70 percent of their historic use.
The initial CVP allocation in February was low, based in part on pumping restrictions needed to protect threatened fish species under the Endangered Species Act; however, this decreased allocation for South-of-Delta contractors is based on the critical water year classification, the projection of reduced Delta inflows this spring, significant loss of reservoir storage to support pumping this summer and water quality permit requirements.

“We are facing a challenging water year, but we continue to look for opportunities to facilitate supplemental water supplies through water transfer and exchange programs and new arrangements that could lead to additional flows in the system,” stated Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “We are exploring all options to assist in alleviating the serious impacts of these drought conditions.”

The decreased allocations have occurred despite recent actions being taken by Reclamation to help shore up water supplies as described in the CVP Water Plan 2013, available at Some of these actions include the completion of the Delta-Mendota Canal/California Aqueduct Intertie in May 2012 and the securing of water to supplement CVP supplies as a result of the Yuba Accord.

“Reclamation continues working with our partners to find a comprehensive, long-term solution to achieve the dual goals of a reliable water supply for California and a healthy Bay Delta ecosystem that supports the state’s economy,” Murillo said. “It should be noted that the successful completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan would include a new diversion and conveyance facility utilizing state-of-the-art protections for endangered fish species, which would improve water supply reliability even in years such as this, while improving environmental conditions in the Delta.”

Comments Off

Next »