Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources call for temporary changes to delta outflow requirements to preserve water storage in extreme drought conditions


Central Valley Project
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March 19, 2022 – SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Friday, the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources jointly filed a Temporary Emergency Change Petition with the State Water Resources Control Board to temporarily change permit requirements and water rights licenses for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project between April 1 and June 30. These changes follow historically dry January, February and the first half of March, which are generally our wettest months. Facing a third consecutive year of extremely dry conditions, these changes are expected to conserve vital water supplies in upstream reservoirs for critical needs later in the year, including public health and safety and environmental needs.

After a series of heavy storms in December, Reclamation and DWR had hoped that water from the Folsom and Oroville Reservoirs would provide adequate water supply and environmental needs later in the year and that a TUCP would not be necessary. However, after historically dry January and February, Folsom and Oroville are experiencing unprecedented declines in influx forecasts. With this decrease in predicted inflow, these reservoirs cannot support delta outflows as predicted and storage in the other CVP and SWP reservoirs is insufficient to meet other critical water supply and utility needs. environment later in the year without a TUCP in place.

“Reclamation and DWR, along with federal and state fisheries agencies, coordinated throughout the winter to address increasingly challenging hydrological conditions for environmental flows and water supply. water”, said regional reclamation manager Ernest Conant. “We all recognize how difficult this year will be for everyone. It’s definitely another water year to roll up your sleeves and go all out.

“DWR has forecast conditions to remain dry since the start of the year of water on October 1. We face difficult but important decisions on how to manage the system for a third year of drought,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We are taking critical steps such as submitting the Temporary Emergency Change Petition in coordination with our federal and state partners, to balance the needs of endangered species, water supply conservation and deliveries. water to Californians.”

As part of the overall approach, DWR also plans to fill the emergency salinity barrier notch against the drought in the delta. Work will begin on April 1 to fill the notch and will end on April 15. The barrier reduces the amount of saltwater intrusion into the delta, allowing flow rates from upstream reservoirs to be reduced to conserve water supplies. Additionally, based on a recognition by Reclamation and DWR of the importance of better understanding the source of harmful algal blooms and their impact on the delta region, the two have committed to fully participate in multi-agency efforts to solve this problem, such as that recognized by the Water Board in response to comments received on the 2021 drought actions.

Additional project operational flexibility is needed to support priorities, including: providing a minimum supply of water for health and safety; preserve upstream storage for release later in the summer to control saltwater intrusion in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; preserve cold water in Shasta Lake and other reservoirs to maintain cool temperatures in the river for chinook salmon and rainbow trout; maintain protections for endangered and threatened species at the state and federal level; and meet critical water supply needs.

Consult the TUCP. Visit the California drought page for information on drought resources.
Source: USBR

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