Information Regarding Available Irrigation Water
In accordance with Section 6, Insurable Farming Practices, paragraph 84 I and J, of the 2015 Loss Adjustment Manual Standard Handbook (FCIC-25010), the Risk Management Agency (RMA), Davis Regional Office (RO), is providing information it has gathered regarding the availability of irrigation water in California counties.
The United States Drought Monitor data shows California is suffering through one of the worst droughts in recent history. Virtually all irrigation districts in the state will have reduced irrigation supplies due to drastically reduced snowpacks and streamflows.
As a result of unique environmental issues and complexities involved with the irrigated lands located south of the delta that receive part or all of their irrigation water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP), the following information has been gathered for lands located in the CVP and SWP that are located in portions of Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources has determined the following:
1) As of April 1, 2015, data indicates CVP agricultural water service contractors south of the Delta are allocated 0 percent of their contract quantity;
2) As of April 1, 2015, data indicates SWP agricultural water contractors south of the delta are allocated 20 percent of their contract quantity; http://water.ca.gov/
3) Additional increased water allotments may occur after the final planting date for some spring crops for either the CVP or SWP.
The Bureau of Reclamation routinely provides updated informational releases on their website at: https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/. The California Department of Water Resources provides updated informational releases on their website at: http://water.ca.gov/. The 2015 CVP and SWP water allocations are based on the hydrological conditions that indicate that the October (2014) – March (2015) period was one of the driest on record. The California Department of Water Resources reports the statewide snowpack was only 6 percent of historical average.
Additionally, the Central Valley Improvement Act of 1992 reallocated water on an annual basis for the delta’s environmental restoration purposes and mandated allocation for wildlife refuges on an annual basis. The listing of winter run salmon and delta smelt under the Endangered Species Act has also resulted in reduced allocations. The amount of available water supplies that policyholders would receive given the reservoir levels at the beginning of the 2015 water year, historically normal weather and environmental conditions, including rainfall, snowpack and stream flows, is relevant when assessing any submitted claims. Water authorities have considered the current year weather conditions, precipitation totals to date, irrigation water supplies, and demands by water users, and have concluded the precipitation, snowpack and stream flow data for 2015 indicates this will be a drier than normal year. These conditions would indicate that the amount of irrigation water that can be expected under normal conditions will be reduced, possibly down to approximately 35 percent or less for CVP water users and approximately 40 percent or less for SWP water users.
The above is for informational purposes only and may be helpful to AIPs when considering any claims that may be submitted. If you should have any questions regarding the information contained in this assessment, please contact the Davis Regional Office.