[env-trinity] Record Searchlight 4 19 09 Shasta and Trinity
bwl3 at comcast.net
Tue Apr 21 14:13:38 PDT 2009
Wet March may improve Central Valley water allocations
The Redding Record Searchlight - 4/19/09
By Dylan Darling
The biggest rush of water into Lake Shasta in almost three years could lead
to increased water allocations for north state agriculture.
"We are anticipating an upward bump," said Brian Person, manager of the
Bureau of Reclamation's Northern California Office at Shasta Dam.
Early this week, bureau officials plan to release updated allocations for
the Central Valley Project - which runs 500 miles from Lake Shasta to
Bakersfield - based on weather, lake inflow and other factors in March.
Snowfall in February and rain in March gave the lake its biggest boost in
More than 1 million acre-feet, or enough water to flood a million acres a
foot deep, flowed into Lake Shasta in March, according to state Department
of Water Resources data. It's the biggest influx into the 4.5 million
acre-foot capacity reservoir since April 2006.
After a dry December and January, the bureau had announced in February that
the Central Valley Project could receive only half of its usual 6 million
acre-foot allocation - the most drastic cutback since a drought in the early
The projected allocations included no water for agriculture land north of
Sacramento supplied through contracts made after Shasta Dam was finished in
But stormy weather in February brought revised allocations last month,
providing those contracts with 5 percent of the normal supply.
Now bureau officials are analyzing weather, snowpack and storage changes in
March to determine if and how to revise the allocations.
"There's a possibility (they) could change," said Pete Lucero, bureau
spokesman in Sacramento.
The rush of inflow into Lake Shasta brought a big rise to the lake that had
hit a 16-year low last fall. In March, the lake rose about 48 feet, bringing
it to 66 percent full, said Larry Ball, operations chief for the bureau at
March brought the lake to the same level it was at this time last year,
about 60 feet below its high waterline.
Ball said this year's allocations will still be lower than last because less
water is available from the Trinity River.
Along with the likely increase in allocations, the wet March also has
improved the outlook for the lake at the end of the summer. Ball said the
lake is expected to bottom out at about the same 157 feet below crest next
fall. Earlier in the year, he had said the lake could hit 200 feet below.
"That's far better than the original estimates were in that dry January,"
A workshop for growers looking to keep their crops going with reduced water
supplies is set for Tuesday evening at Shasta College.
The workshop, hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension,
starts at 6:30 p.m. in Room 1632, said Larry Forero, extension director in
Topics for discussion include maintaining pasture, preserving nut and fruit
trees, and saving vines despite reduced irrigation deliveries.
There also will be a discussion on federal drought aid, Forero said, but the
workshop will not be a forum to debate water policy, endangered species or
water deliveries in the past year.#
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
415 519 4810 cell
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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