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From: Dan Nelson

Regarding: Potential for rationing program through August, 2008 (for Central Valley Project)

May 29th, 2008

followed by - Congressional Briefing On Potential Water Rationing

Coming at the end of the driest spring in 88 years on record, recent preliminary forecasts indicate that the CVP share of San Luis Reservoir storage will reach an untenable negative 240 TAF at the end of August absent some combination of additional export pumping, source shifting, or demand rationing. Following consultation with Reclamation, the Authority anticipates that Reclamation will need to implement a strict water allocation program. This program would most likely begin retroactively on Tuesday, May 27 and continue until San Luis Reservoir low point, which is expected to be reached by August 31.

As a result of the extremely dry spring, implementation of the court ordered Delta Smelt restrictions, and other environmental restrictions on CVP operations related primarily to conserving cold water in upstream storage for the benefit of the ESA listed winter run salmon, it is anticipated that Jones pumping will be at minimum capacity during June and at 80% during July and August.

While our operators have been in daily consultations with Reclamation and State operators, the severity of the situation became apparent after the May runoff forecasts were available and showed the dramatic reduction of available supply for the summer. The Authority felt that the earliest possible notification to you of a likely rationing program was essential.

SWP is also scrambling to meet its south-of-delta demands while dealing with the worst projected Oroville carryover storage since 1977. SWP operators intend to minimize moving Oroville water south by maximizing the use of SWP San Luis storage. This will leave no opportunity for the CVP to borrow SWP storage at the low point.

In anticipation of Reclamation having to limit summer demands, the Authority has developed a rationing proposal that defines the maximum amount of 2008 contract water that may be delivered to each district between now and August 31. This allocation is currently based on contract quantities. Certain issues, such as how to account for transfers, remain unresolved. The proposal will be revised accordingly.

The total volume of water to be allotted to contractors is 904,000 ac-ft, which is the sum of the CVP share of San Luis Reservoir storage today and the total planned CVP export pumping by Sept 1. Assuming Reclamation implements the proposed operational changes listed above, the Authority’s water rationing allocation would be as follows:

1) Recognize that deliveries to Exchange Contractors will be capped at their contractual monthly maximums.

2) M & I Contractors (urban) capped at 2001 demand levels.

3) Agricultural Service contractors allocated the remainder of the total volume., (Estimated to be 381,600 ac-ft)
The allotted water is the total amount of 2008 project supply that will be available to each contractor between now and the end of August. With the exception of contractual delivery rate or volumetric limits for exchange contractors, each district will determine how to use its allotted volume.

The intended end result of the Authority’s rationing proposal is to avoid a catastrophic total depletion of San Luis storage. The contractor allotments will be periodically updated to reflect changes in planned export pumping and with Reclamation’s possible implementation of the additional measures listed above.

Reclamation is thoroughly analyzing it’s options.. We anticipate that Reclamation will likely implement a strict water allocation program as soon as they possibly can.

In addition, Reclamation is also still analyzing whether the 45% allocation will hold for this year. It is likely that there will be a reduction to the allocation.

The situation we are facing is unprecedented. California has never had to deal with a drought when so many of our options for minimizing its impact have been denied to us by administrative, judicial and statutory restrictions. The challenge for all of our member agencies over the next three months will involve holding the inevitable economic and environmental harm from these reductions to a minimum, while ensuring that the health and safety of the communities that depend on these water supplies are protected. The Authority will continue to work closely with its members and Reclamation to provide as much notice and flexibility on water deliveries as possible. There are numerous challenges to overcome between now and August 31 and we will make every effort to keep you informed on changes as they occur.

If you should have any questions or comments please feel free to contact Frances Mizuno or myself.


Congressional Briefing On Potential Water Rationing
June 2, 10:30 a.m.
Los Banos Fairgrounds, Germino Building
Congressman Jim Costa has called a Congressional Briefing regarding potential water rationing or other actions that may be needed this year to address the dry hydrology, Delta pumping restrictions and San Luis Reservoir low point concerns.
The Bureau of Reclamation will provide an update on these matters and provide information on the Reclamation’s plans for handling delivery-related restrictions, as necessary.
The briefing will be held on June 2, 2008, at 10:30 a.m. at the Germino Building located in the Los Banos Fairgrounds, 403 F Street, Los Banos (Germino Building can be accessed from 5th Street).
Please plan on attending this important meeting.

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