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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

November 2003

1. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IMPLEMENTING THE WAP? WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES OF THE WATER ACQUISITION PROGRAM (WAP)?

Under the authority of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA), the Water Acquisition
Program (WAP) is a joint U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) program of the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The WAP acquires water for protecting restoring, and enhancing fish and wildlife populations to meet the goals of the CVPIA. The WAP acquires water to meet two purposes: (1) Level 4 refuge water supplies, and (2) instream flows.

2. WHAT ARE LEVEL 4 WATER SUPPLIES?

CVPIA requires Interior to acquire water supplies, known as incremental Level 4, to meet optimal
waterfowl habitat management needs at identified wildlife areas in the California Central Valley.
Incremental Level 4 is defined as the difference between historic annual average water deliveries (Level 2) and water supplies needed to achieve optimal waterfowl habitat management (Level 4).

Refuges To Receive Level 4 Water Supplies:

  • Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
  • Delevan National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sutter National Wildlife Refuge
  • San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
  • Merced National Wildlife Refuge
  • Kern National Wildlife Refuge
  • Pixley National Wildlife Refuge
  • Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
  • North Grasslands Wildlife Area
  • Volta Wildlife Area
  • Los Banos Wildlife Area
  • Mendota Wildlife Area
  • Grasslands Resource Conservation District

3. WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AFRP AND WAP?

Under CVPIA, an Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP) has been developed to make all reasonable efforts to double the natural production of anadromous fish in Central Valley streams and rivers. Anadromous fish are those fish which live in the ocean and return to rivers to reproduce. The WAP supports the objectives of the AFRP by acquiring water from willing sellers. As a part of CVPIA long-range planning efforts to increase stream flows, FWS is currently conducting ongoing studies related to three key issues: biological needs of anadromous fish, hydrological characteristics of targeted streams (including reservoir operations), and economic considerations. This information will be used to establish which streams have the highest
priority need for additional flows and how much water is needed on each of those streams.

4. WHAT FISH AND WILDLIFE NEEDS WILL BE MET THROUGH THE WAP?

Water acquired to meet incremental Level 4 refuge water supplies will provide optimal water supplies for Central Valley wildlife refuges and wetland management areas. This water will be used to restore permanent wetlands and summer water areas, and provide for earlier flooding of seasonal wetlands to maximize habitat for migrating waterfowl. Typically in the past, these areas have been drained or have not been supplied with water on a year-round basis. The increase in habitat resulting from the additional water supplies will decrease waterfowl overcrowding and reduce waterfowl diseases at the refuges. Additional water supplies also increase populations of some threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species as a result of improved wetland habitats.

The water acquired to increase stream flows will contribute to meeting the goal of the AFRP to increase populations of anadromous fish species. The targeted species include chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha); steelhead (O. mykiss); striped bass (Morone saxatilis); American shad (Alosa sapidissima); white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus); and green sturgeon (A. Medirostris). The reproductive success of these fish will increase by providing greater access to historical spawning areas and by improving water temperatures for spawning. Additional flows will also contribute to an increase in survival of juvenile anadromous fish passing through the Delta on their way to the ocean.

5. HOW MUCH WATER HAS BEEN ACQUIRED UNDER THE WAP TO DATE? WHAT PRICE WAS
PAID FOR THE WATER?

A detailed list of water acquisitions can be found on the WAP website at www.usbr.gov/mp/cvpia/wap or can be requested by calling 916-978-5203.

6. HOW IS THE WAP FUNDED?

The WAP is funded through the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund (Restoration Fund) and Energy and Water Appropriations. CVPIA established the Restoration Fund, which obtains revenues from fees paid by CVP water and power contractors. The Restoration Fund can also accept donated funds from any source. Proposition 204 (Safe, Clean Reliable Water Supply Act) funds are also available to meet the State's share of costs under CVPIA. In addition, CALFED funding may be available for water acquisitions that meet CALFED objectives.

7. FROM WHOM IS THE WAP BUYING WATER? HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE PURCHASE
PRICE?

The WAP purchases water from “willing sellers” which can be water districts, irrigation districts, counties or other entities that hold water rights and are willing to transfer or sell their water rights to Interior. The price of the water is negotiated, and often differs for each transaction. Factors that effect the purchase price include the source of the water, the reliability of the water, the path the water must travel to get to the point of delivery, and the cost of alternative supplies.

Prices previously paid for water can be requested by calling 916-978-5203 , or can be found on the WAP website.

8. WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR THE WAP TO PURCHASE WATER?

The water acquisition process starts with identifying willing sellers, i.e., water districts or other entities with water rights that are willing to transfer their water rights (either temporarily or permanently) to Interior. Once a seller has come forward, the WAP requests a preliminary written proposal that includes sufficient information to evaluate the potential acquisition. Information that aids in evaluating the acquisition includes: water quantity, source, delivery schedule, duration of availability, water rights ownership, conveyance facilities, known environmental impacts related to the sale, and potential stakeholders.

If the acquisition is to be pursued, environmental considerations are addressed through compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and other applicable environmental laws. The environmental documentation will include either an Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact or an Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision. The draft environmental documents will be available for public review and comment. Throughout the water acquisition process, the public and interested parties have the opportunity to become involved in the process. The water acquisition process is complete when the environmental documentation is finalized and a water acquisition agreement/contract identifying the purchase price and conditions of sale/transfer is approved.

9. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IF I AM INTERESTED IN SELLING WATER TO THE WAP?

Contact the WAP Program Manager at 916-978-5203 or TDD 916-978-5608, in writing at Bureau of Reclamation, WAP Program Manager, MP-410, Division of Resources Management, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, California 95825-1898, or via e-mail at lcolella@usbr.gov.
For additional information, visit the WAP website or call..

 

For assistance or additional information about this website, please contact Public Affairs
Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region
2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento CA  95825-1898
Main 916-978-5100   |   FAX 916-978-5114   |   TTY 916-978-5608

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Last update: April 3, 2014

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