Byron, CA (April 21, 2023) – On the heels of a record-setting winter and a historic Sierra snowpack topping 200% of normal in many locations, the irrigation season in the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) service area is underway. The season began in early April, delayed by wet weather that continued well into spring.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) in April issued an updated water supply allocation of 100% for its South-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors, including BBID. The initial allocation was set at 35%, then was increased to 80% in March before the full allocation announcement. Continued snowfall and subsequent runoff this winter boosted Lake Shasta from 59% to 81% of normal, and San Luis Reservoir from 64% to 97%.
It was just one year ago that Reclamation issued an initial 0% allocation for South-of-Delta contractors amid ongoing drought and declining reservoir levels.
“We are grateful for Mother Nature providing much-needed relief for our CVP growers,” said BBID General Manager Edwin Pattison. “Four times in the last decade, South-of-Delta CVP contractors like BBID have received a 0% allocation, putting incredible strain on growers and ranchers in BBID’s CVP service area. Still, we hope that the sudden shift in hydrology does not distract from the very real need for regulatory reform,” Pattison continued.
“If these boom-or-bust weather patterns are our new normal, we must adapt,” said BBID Board President Tim Maggiore. “We must invest in our aging water systems and build new storage to capture water supplies when they’re abundant, for times when they are not.”
The District continues to work with its local, regional and state partners in exploring regulatory solutions that balance the needs of California’s cities, agriculture, and environment.
Additionally, Reclamation increased its allocation for its South-of-Delta Municipal and Industry (M&I) contractors to 100%, including those in the BBID’s service area.