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Mid-Pacific Region
Sacramento, Calif.
Media Contact:
Pete Lucero, MP Region Chief Public Affairs Offocer
(916)978-5100

Released On: January 27, 2012

Bureau of Reclamation Discusses Preliminary Water Year 2012 Central Valley Project Water Supply Conditions

In preparation for the Bureau of Reclamation's initial Water Year (WY) 2012 water allocation announcement in mid-February, Reclamation is providing information on water supply conditions for the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and comparisons of CVP reservoir storage for January 2012 with January 2011, 2010 and 2009 and the 15-year average. (Reclamation's WY runs from October 1 to September 30.)

Water conditions over the past several years have fluctuated from "Dry" in WYs 2009 and 2010 to "Wet" in WY 2011. The California Department of Water Resources' (DWR) first snow survey for 2011, held December 28, 2010, showed California's mountain snowpack to be 198 percent of normal for that date. In contrast, DWR's first Snow Survey for 2012, performed January 3, 2012, showed California's mountain snowpack to be among the driest on record, with the snow-water content at 19 percent of normal for that date.

Despite recent rain and snowfall, hydrologic conditions are far below average for the season. As of December 31, 2011, DWR reported that the Northern Sierra 8-Station Precipitation Index Water Year total was 6.9 inches, which is about 39 percent of the seasonal average to date and 14 percent of an average water year (which is 50.0 inches). During December 2011, the total precipitation for the northern region was 0.3 inches, which is about 4 percent of the monthly average and the third driest December on record. Additionally, the San Joaquin 5-Station Precipitation Index Water Year total was 4.0 inches, which is about 31 percent of the seasonal average to date and 10 percent of an average water year (which is 40.8 inches). During December, the total precipitation for the southern region was 0.0 inches, which tied with 1989 as the driest December on record.

Although precipitation for WY 2012 has been marginal, the final snow-water content statewide for 2011 was a near-record 152 percent of the seasonal average. As a result, the CVP's carryover storage into WY 2012 was the third-highest on record at 9.3 million acre-feet. Additionally, with two months remaining in California's traditional "rain season," Reclamation anticipates that precipitation totals will improve.

Reclamation balances the allocation of CVP water for agricultural, environmental, and municipal and industrial purposes. This task is driven by numerous factors including hydrology, conditions as reported by DWR, storage in CVP reservoirs, regulations, court decisions, biological opinions, environmental considerations, operational limitations, and input from other agencies and organizations. For WY 2012, Reclamation will focus on stretching water supplies, moving water where it is most needed, providing as much certainty as possible for growers and continuing to build and foster long-term water solutions in partnership with the state.

The following table shows conditions in six key CVP reservoirs as of January 25 for 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009, as well as the 15-year average:

CVP Reservoir Storage Comparisons for 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 15-Year Average
As of January 25 for Each Year ? Storages Listed in Millions of Acre-feet (MAF)

CVP Reservoir
Capacities

2012

% of
15-year

Average

2011

% of
15-year

Average

2010

% of
15-year

Average

2009

% of
15-year

Average

15-Year Average

Shasta 4.552

3.097

100

3.462

112

2.453

79

1.403

44

3.083

New Melones 2.420

1.975

120

1.582

95

1.210

72

1.164

71

1.648

Trinity 2.448

1.945

116

1.800

107

1.022

60

.981

57

1.678

Folsom 0.977

.413

90

.460

101

.298

65

.234

49

.460

Millerton 0.520

.316

101

.397

124

.235

74

.212

65

.312

Fed. San Luis 0.966

.945

123

.894

117

.562

74

.291

38

.769

Total 11.883

8.691

108

8.595

109

5.780

71

4.285

54

7.950

The first official WY 2012 CVP water allocation announcement is planned for mid-February as required by contract terms. Water supply updates will then be made monthly or more often as appropriate and will be posted on Reclamation's website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/pa/water.

To receive the latest update on CVP operations, please contact the Public Affairs Office at 916-978-5100 (TTY 916-978-5608) or e-mail mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov.

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