Feds release $61.8M in drought relief to CVP

United States Bureau of Reclamation to allocate $61.8 million to the Central Valley Project to address ongoing drought needs

TULARE COUNTY – The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has announced they will be allocating $61.8 million to the Central Valley Project (CVP) to address ongoing drought needs in California.

“Most of the West, and specifically California’s Central Valley, the Klamath Basin in Oregon and California and the Colorado River Basin, were impacted by this past dry hydrologic year. Recent forecasts show minimal relief for water year 2022,” said reclamation commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “This funding will help protect those communities and ecosystems in the short term as we leverage our resources in the bipartisan infrastructure law to build long-term water resilience in the backdrop of climate change across the entire West.”

The Central Valley Project is a complex, multi-purpose network of dams, reservoirs, canals, hydroelectric power plants and other facilities extending 400 miles throughout central California. The CVP reduces flood risk and supplies domestic and industrial water for the Central Valley, as well as supplies water to major urban centers in the Greater Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas.

Construction of major CVP facilities began in 1938 with the breaking of ground for Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River near Redding in Northern California. Over the next five decades, the CVP was expanded into a system of 20 dams and reservoirs that together can hold nearly 12 million acre-feet of water.

The investment in the CVP comes as a part of USBR’s $210 million spending plan in the Extending Government Funding and Delivery Emergency Assistance Act. The legislation provides Reclamation with $200 million to address drought conditions throughout the West, as well as $10 million for fire remediation and suppression emergency assistance related to wildfires.

Funding allocations include:

  • $40 million for the implementation of conserving 500,000+ acre-feet of water over the next two years to stabilize the decline of Lake Mead. This includes $26 million to the Lower Colorado River Operations Program to continue the implementation of Drought Contingency Plan activities and $14 million to shore up water firming rights for Tribal communities during times of shortage in the Central Arizona water supply.
  • $1.2 million for the Lower Colorado River Operations Program to initiate coordination of post 2026 operational guidelines and studies related to drought resiliency.
  • $61.8 million to California’s Central Valley Project to address ongoing drought needs throughout the region.
  • $20 million to the WaterSmart Drought Response Program to address drought planning and implementation actions through a competitive selection process that emphasizes mitigation of drought impacts, involvement from multiple stakeholders, and cost-sharing from non-federal sponsors.
  • $10 million for the Klamath Project to support drought response and resiliency activities.
  • $10 million for drought mitigation activities for Native Americans.
  • $22 million for drought-specific projects and activities, such as additional storage facilities for the Mni Wiconi Project (SD) and water conservation improvements for the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (WA).
  • $35 million for contingency funding to address the most pressing and emerging drought- related needs as the FY 2022 water year hydrology unfolds.

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