Water Year 2021 Timeline
- October 1 – The Central Valley Project (CVP) begins the 2021 water year with 6.01 million acre-feet of storage.
- February 23 - Reclamation announces initial allocations for CVP water users:
- Agricultural water service contractors – 5%
- Municipal & Industrial (M&I) water service contractors – 55%
- Settlement and Exchange contractors – 75%
- Friant contractors – 20%
- Wildlife refuges – 75%
- March 1 - Between the February and March 1 Sac Four River Index 90% forecast, there is a 725,000 acre-feet reduction in projected inflow.
- March 23 - Reclamation suspends the 5% allocation for south-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors due to worsening drought conditions.
- April 16 – In coordination with federal and state fish agencies, Reclamation begins implementation of a warm water power bypass at Shasta Dam to help save cold water for later in the summer when most needed by winter-run Chinook salmon—saving approximately 300,000 acre-feet of cold water. Reclamation released water from the warmer, upper layers of Shasta Reservoir directly through the dam’s river outlets into the Sacramento River.
- Sacramento River Settlement Contractors voluntarily participate in water transfers by making water available through groundwater substitution and cropland idling/crop shifting. SRSC pump groundwater in-lieu of diverting surface water, thereby making surface water available for transfer.
- May 1 - Between the April and May 1 Sac Four River Index 90% forecast; there is an unexpected 685,000 acre-feet reduction in projected inflow.
- May 5 - Reclamation suspends the 5% allocation for north-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors due to worsening drought conditions.
- May 10 – For the first time in CVP history, Reclamation releases water from New Melones Reservoir to assist with meeting Delta salinity and outflow requirements.
- May 17 - The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Reclamation file a Temporary Urgency Change Petition (TUCP) to the State Water Resources Control Board requesting temporary changes to water rights requirements regarding Delta water quality objectives designed to protect fish, wildlife, and agricultural water quality in order to maintain water storage in upstream reservoirs and meet other obligations, such as M&I water supply.
- May 26 - Reclamation updates allocations for CVP water users again due to worsening drought conditions:
- Agricultural water service contractors north- and south-of-Delta confirmed at 0%
- M&I water service contractors reduced from 55% to 25% of historic use
- May 28 – Reclamation submits 2021 Sacramento River Temperature Management Plan to the State Water Resources Control Board.
- June 1 - State Water Resources Control Board approves TUCP to be effective between June 1 and August 15, 2021.
- June 10 – State Water Resources Control Board approves the 2021 Sacramento River Temperature Management Plan subject to conditions.
- June 15 – In coordination with NOAA Fisheries, Reclamation implements emergency pulse flow on Clear Creek to benefit spring-run Chinook salmon. This pulse flow required no additional stored water beyond normal operations. Reclamation and partner agencies coordinated this operational adjustment by reducing base flow in preparation for this pulse flow release when most needed by spring-run Chinook salmon.
- July 28 – Reclamation assists DWR with completion of an emergency drought salinity barrier. Located near the mouth of the West False River in the Delta, the 800-foot-long, 30-foot-deep barrier was built with 112,000 tons of riprap rock to prevent saltwater contamination of the water used by millions of Californians who rely on the federal and state water projects for at least some of their supply.
- August 20 - State Water Resources Control Board issues curtailment orders to approximately 4,500 right holders to protect drinking water supplies, prevent salinity intrusion and minimize impacts to fisheries and the environment.
- September 30 – the CVP ends the water year with 3.21 million acre-feet of stored water.