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California Water

Contact: Dan DuBray, (202) 513-0574

The California water supply is in crisis. The Administration is committed to long-term water supply improvements and environmental restoration in California. Reclamation is working in partnership with state and local entities to implement projects across the state. Reclamation will continue efforts with the State to find a long-term, comprehensive 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. Other activities range from Dam Safety at Folsom Dam to the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project, which began operation in 2012 on the Sacramento River. The FY 2015 budget request includes significant funding for projects and activities across the state. California water is one of Reclamation’s highest priorities.

Central Valley Project $118.6

The 2015 budget request will fund operations, management and improvements within the Central Valley Project (CVP). Over one-half of the amount provides for operation and maintenance of project facilities, including $16.4 million for the Replacements, Additions and Extraordinary Maintenance program, for modernization, upgrade, and refurbishment of facilities throughout the Central Valley. The request also includes $18.7 million for the Trinity River Restoration program (after including $2 million in the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund) for the development of a comprehensive monitoring and adaptive management program for fishery restoration and construction of channel rehabilitation projects at various sites along the Trinity River. The FY 2015 budget reflects a decrease from the 2014 level due primarily to the request to establish a separate account for the San Joaquin River Restoration program and a six month delay in the schedule for drainage services for the San Luis Unit as approved by the U.S. District Court.

Central Valley Project Restoration Fund - $56.9M

The Central Valley Project Restoration Fund was authorized in the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Title XXXIV of P.L. 102-575. This Fund provides funding from project beneficiaries for habitat restoration, improvement and acquisition, and other fish and wildlife restoration activities within the Central Valley Project (CVP) area of California. Revenues are derived from payments by project beneficiaries and from donations.

Funding will be used for protection, restoration, and management of aquatic and riparian habitats throughout the Central Valley, water supplies for wildlife refuges, and water acquisition and other activities to benefit anadromous fish consistent with performance goals, criteria, and recommendations in the 2009 Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Program Activity Report (CPAR) and other associated documents. Annual workplans coordinated by Fish and Wildlife Service and Reclamation, in conjunction with Central Valley water users, hydropower representatives, and other interested groups, continues to help ensure efficient and effective implementation of the Act.

California Bay-Delta Restoration - $37.0 M

The Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta (Delta) is a regional, State, and national treasure. It is an integral part of an ecosystem dependent on more than 750 wildlife species and more than 120 species of fish. As a migratory corridor, the Delta hosts two-thirds of the State’s salmon and nearly half of the waterfowl and shorebirds along the Pacific flyway. The Bay-Delta system is critical to California’s economy because the two rivers that flow into the Bay-Delta provide potable water for two-thirds of California’s homes and businesses and irrigate more than 7 million acres of farmland on which 45 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are grown, part of a $28.0 billion agricultural industry. The Federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project play a central, coordinated role in the water management of the Bay-Delta system and throughout California.

The CALFED Bay-Delta Program was established in May 1995 to develop a comprehensive long-term plan to address the complex and interrelated problems in the Delta region, tributary watersheds, and delivery areas. The Program’s focus is on conserving and restoring the health of the ecosystem and improving water management. The Interim Federal Action Plan Status Update for the California Bay-Delta: 2011 and Beyond was released at the end of 2010 by the Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Army, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Council on Environmental Quality. The updated report urges continued progress toward completion of the California Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and supports major elements of the plan as a promising means of addressing the critical needs of both the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the state’s water delivery structure. The FY 2015 budget requests funding actions that support Program, including the Interim Federal Action Plan. The authorization of funding for the Federal share of these costs expires at the end of FY 2015 (as established in Sec. 207 of P.L. 113-76), and language has been proposed to extend the expiration date to September 30, 2018.

Lower Colorado River Operations Program - $28.3M

The 2015 budget request provides $12.2 million for the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to fulfill the role of “water master” for the lower Colorado River. The Colorado River Operations Program includes river operations, water service contracting and repayment, decree accounting, and fulfilling the requirements of the Secretary’s role as water master. This amount includes almost $3.0 million for activities related to compliance with Minute 319 of the Bi-National Treaty with Mexico which was signed in 2012.

The request also includes $16.2 million to continue development and implementation of the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP). This unique partnership is designed to provide 50 years of ESA coverage and will conserve 26 species along the lower Colorado River from Lake Mead to Mexico, including the endangered razorback sucker, bonytail chub, southwestern willow flycatcher, and Yuma clapper rail. This program is cost shared 50/50 with the non-Federal partners.

Safety of Dams at Folsom Dam - $21.4M

The FY 2015 budget request continues major construction activities at Folsom Dam to address risks to public safety from potential structural failure due to seismic conditions and possible overtopping of the dam during hydrologic events. The total cost of the dam safety modifications at Folsom Dam and appurtenant facilities is estimated to exceed $300 million and is projected for completion in 2017. Folsom Dam has been identified as Reclamation’s top safety priority.

San Joaquin River Restoration Fund - $32.0

The Reclamation request includes $32.0 million in discretionary appropriations to continue implementation of the San Joaquin River Settlement (Settlement) in NRDC, et al., v. Rodgers, et al. Reclamation’s efforts to implement the Settlement are conducted in close coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service and funding for these agencies efforts is included in the Reclamation request. The Settlement is being implemented consistent with the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, Public Law 111-11. The Settlement and San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act resolved long-standing disputes related to water deliveries and fisheries concerns on the San Joaquin River. The Settlement includes two primary goals – restoration and water management. The restoration goal includes the restoration and maintenance of fish populations in “good condition” in the main stem of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam to the confluence of the Merced River, including naturally reproducing and self-sustaining populations of salmon and other fish. The water management goal includes the reduction or avoidance of adverse water supply impacts to all of the Friant Division long-term contractors that may result from the flows provided for in the Settlement.

Discretionary funding in FY 2015 will be used to complete final design and land acquisition actions for the Mendota Pool Bypass component of the Mendota Pool Bypass and Reach 2B Channel Improvements Project. This request will allow the Mendota Pool Bypass component of this project to stay on schedule for beginning construction actions in FY 2016. The Mendota Pool Bypass component of this project implements one of the highest priority projects identified in the Settlement and includes the creation of a bypass channel around Mendota Pool to prevent fish entrainment in the water diversion facilities in the pool. The bypass channel will be designed and constructed in a way that allows for the Secretary of the Interior to make deliveries of San Joaquin River water to the Mendota Pool, when necessary. The Mendota Pool is a key point for irrigation water distribution on the San Joaquin Valley. Funds will also be used for continued construction activities for the Friant-Kern and Madera Canal Capacity Restoration projects. These two projects would restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal and Madera Canal to the previous design and construction capacity, thereby providing additional capacity for the Friant Division long-term contractors to make better use of water supplies and reduce or avoid impacts that would otherwise occur with the implementation of the Settlement.

Efforts will continue on planning, engineering, environmental compliance, fishery management, water operations, and public involvement activities related to the restoration and water management goals in the Settlement. Significant activities planned include the continued release of initial flows, termed Interim Flows, and the beginning of long-term flow releases, termed Restoration Flows, from Friant Dam and implementation of associated biological and physical monitoring and reporting program. As part of this effort, Reclamation plans to continue implementation of a comprehensive groundwater seepage management and monitoring program, including the implementation of seepage management actions and projects to reduce or avoid high groundwater elevations under adjacent agricultural lands that may affect agricultural productivity as a result of release of long-term flows (termed Restoration Flows) from Friant Dam.