Bureau of Reclamation Outlines Water Year 2016 Central Valley Project Water Supply Conditions

Media Contact: Shane Hunt, 916-978-5100

For Release: January 22, 2016

RENO, NEV. – In preparation for the initial 2016 water supply allocation announcement later this winter, the Bureau of Reclamation is providing an update on water supply conditions for the federal Central Valley Project (CVP). The water year (WY) runs from October 1 to September 30; the contract year for most CVP contractors runs from March 1 to February 28.

The CVP’s reservoir carryover storage from WY 2015 into WY 2016 (October 1, 2015) was 2.9 million acre-feet, which was 24 percent of capacity and 47 percent of the 15-year average for that date in six key CVP reservoirs (Shasta, New Melones, Trinity, Folsom, Millerton, and the federal portion of San Luis). The table below shows conditions in those reservoirs as of January 22 for 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. As of January 19, 2016, storage in major CVP reservoirs was .963 million acre-feet lower than a year ago.

“On December 30, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) held their first manual snow survey of the year and found the water content to be 16.3 inches, or 136 percent of the January 1 average. With this promising news and El Niño storms beginning to materialize, we are feeling encouraged,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “However, storage in our reservoirs remains low, and we must be prudent as we develop initial operation plans and allocations for CVP water contractors.”

CVP Reservoir Storage Comparisons

for 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2013 and 15-Year Average

As of January 22 for Each Year

Storages Listed in Millions of Acre-feet (MAF)

CVP Reservoir
Capacities

2016

% of
15-year

Average

2015

2014

2013

15-Year Average

Shasta 4.552

1.859

68

1.962

1.659

3.424

2.735

Trinity 2.448

.589

40

.856

1.168

1.913

1.484

Folsom 0.977

.343

85

.447

.166

.557

.405

New Melones 2.420

.355

26

.556

1.047

1.624

1.366

Millerton 0.520

.195

70

.184

.206

.303

.280

Fed. San Luis 0.966

.129

20

.332

.335

.709

.646

Total 11.883

3.470

49

4.337

4.581

8.530

6.916

As of January 19, DWR reported that the Northern Sierra 8-Station Precipitation Index Water Year total was 25.4 inches, which is about 109 percent of the seasonal average to date and 51 percent of an average water year (which is 50.0 inches). The San Joaquin 5-Station Precipitation Index Water Year total was 20.6 inches, which is 116 percent of the seasonal average to date and 50 percent of an average water year (which is 40.8 inches).

On January 15, 2016, Reclamation, DWR, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife submitted the 2016 Drought Contingency Plan to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The Plan outlines projected water operations and potential modifications to water quality rules and water rights permits that project operators may seek, depending on developing hydrologic conditions. The Plan is available on the SWRCB website at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/tucp/docs/febnov_2016plan.pdf .

As required by the exchange and settlement contracts, an initial declaration of whether 2016 is a Shasta Critical year will be announced on or before Feb. 15, 2016. Water supply updates will be made monthly or as appropriate and will be posted on Reclamation’s website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvp-water.

Reclamation balances the operation of the CVP and delivery of CVP water for agricultural, municipal and industrial, and environmental purposes based on factors that include hydrology, changing river and Delta conditions, storage in CVP reservoirs, regulatory requirements, court decisions, biological opinions, environmental considerations, operational limitations and input from other agencies and organizations.

For further information, please visit the CVP water supply website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvp-water/ or contact the Public Affairs Office at 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov. For updates, please visit us on Twitter @ReclamationCVP.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.