(AP) -- The drought has prompted officials to look at tapping into water stored behind a dam east of Fresno for the first time in decades in order to assist farmers.
Pablo Arroyave of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says low water levels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have forced officials to turn to Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River. The dam forms the Millerton Lake reservoir.
Millerton Lake water is needed to meet the bureau's contractual water obligations to the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, which holds senior water rights. The exchange provides irrigation water to about 240,000 acres of farmland between Patterson and Mendota.
The bureau has relied solely on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to meet the exchange's needs. Arroyave says the additional water will begin to flow through the Friant Dam on Thursday.