Rain in California is 222 percent of average for this time of year. The US Bureau of Reclamation says water stored in the Central Valley Project’s six key reservoirs has almost doubled since October 1st, to 8.7 million acre-feet.
“About 2.7 million of that came in just the last two months,” says Federico Barajas, the bureau’s deputy regional director.
Barajas says farms and cities that receive water from New Melones, Millerton, and Folsom reservoirs will get their full allotment of water this year. Those with some of the oldest water rights will too. But the remainder, including farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, will have to wait until mid-March.
“I don’t fault the bureau at all," says Jason Peltier with the San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority. He blames the delay on environmental regulations that protect endangered fish.
"It’s them trying work with the federal fish regulators and fish agencies who don’t seem to look out the window and understand that we’re in flood conditions, reservoirs are full, snowpack is huge.”
Federal officials want to consider the results of this week’s snow survey before allocations are announced. They expect there to be much more water than last year, when allocations were just five percent.