This announcement is excellent news for the farmers and communities that rely on water from Reclamation to grow the crops that provide over 50% of the food supply for the United States. -- Thomas Birmingham, general manager Westlands Water District, Jan. 18, 2011
Comments in blue supplied by Lloyd Carter, editor in chief of Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood, www.lloydgcarter.com
Toto, I've a feeling we not in Kansas anymore. -- Badlands Journal editorial staff
The general manager of Westlands Water District announces forecast for water service contractors
Fresno, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2011) – The general manager of Westlands Water District Thomas Birmingham has released a statement regarding a water allocation forecast for water service contractors south of the Delta Central Valley Project.
Normally the Bureau of Reclamation releases the information during the Mid-Pacific Region water users conference, being held in Reno, Nev. next week. The forecast is coming out early for the benefit of water users of the Central Valley Project, and yields good news for the region’s farmers and communities that rely on water for growing crops.
The following is Birmingham’s statement in its entirety.
Thomas W. Birmingham General Manager
Westlands Water District
Today the Bureau of Reclamation announced a forecast of the allocation for south-of-Delta Central Valley Project water service contractors: 45% based on a 90% exceedence forecast and 50% based on a 50% exceedence forecast.
Historically, Reclamation has announced its forecast of allocations at the Mid-Pacific Region water users conference, which is being held next week in Reno, Nevada. However, because of operational uncertainty in 2009 and 2010, they were prevented from being able to provide an early forecast. The early announcement this year is an example of the Bureau's effort to be as informative as possible to the water users of the Central Valley Project.
This announcement is excellent news for the farmers and communities that rely on water from Reclamation to grow the crops that provide over 50% of the food supply for the United States. [Can this possibly be true that Westlands/San Luis Unit actually produces over half the food supply of the U.S.????] It reflects the continuing efforts by the Department of the Interior to minimize water supply impacts from the federal government's biological opinions while complying with its obligation to protect listed species. Compared to the initial allocations in 2009 and 2010 -- zero and 5 percent respectively -- this forecast will enable farmers to make better informed planting decisions, help to free up the funding they need for bank loans, and put people back to work.
Unfortunately, this allocation forecast also shows how broken California's water delivery system is. In a year that is on track to be one of the wettest years on record, with flood releases already occurring from the Project's own reservoirs, it is a sad commentary that Reclamation can forecast only a 45 percent allocation. This is further evidence that if we are going to sustain the economy of this state, [“We,” meaning Westlands, sustains California’s economy?????. This is laughable.] We have to fix the Delta problem. Until we improve California's delivery facilities, we will continue to be water short throughout the state.