By California Rice Commission
We are in regular contact with the Northern California Water Association and area water managers to assess likely impacts from year four of the drought.
The latest information continues to point towards reductions in available surface water supplies throughout the Sacramento Valley. When the official announcements are made in the coming weeks, the Sacramento River settlement contracts currently point to a 75 percent supply, although there could be a sticking point in this dry year with the timing and amount of water needed for salmon runs in the Sacramento River. Regarding Feather River settlement contracts, signs currently point to a 50 percent water delivery. The Yuba River situation is close to last year, although dry conditions in recent weeks provide a significant challenge for water supplies in Yuba County. A nearly full reservoir is helpful for South Sutter, although the lack of a snowpack will likely keep surface water deliveries at about one acre-foot per acre. The Bureau of Reclamation has announced a zero allocation for surface supplies along the Tehama-Colusa Canal. In many areas, groundwater pumping will increase due to lack of surface supplies.
Hope remains that a few late season storms will improve water storage and the inflow into reservoirs, which in turn could help with water supplies.
We will continue to closely monitor the water outlook and provide frequent updates as more information becomes available. We also continue to impress the need of additional water storage through construction of Sites Reservoir to help in future dry years.