USBR Urges Central Valley Project Contractors to Prepare for Fourth Dry Year

The action comes amid the worst three-year drought period on record

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is asking its contractors receiving Central Valley Project water for municipal and industrial use to begin planning for potentially extremely limited water supply conditions in 2023.

Despite the early storms that California experienced in November, drought conditions continue. Conservative planning efforts will help better manage the limited water resources in the event conditions remain dry and the state moves into a fourth consecutive drought year.

The Central Valley Project began the 2023 water year Oct. 1 with water storage reservoirs near historic lows. Shasta Reservoir — the state’s largest reservoir and cornerstone of the Central Valley Project — is currently at 31% capacity. If drought conditions extend into 2023, the Bureau of Reclamation says it will find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to meet all the competing needs of the Central Valley Project without beginning the implementation of additional and more severe water conservation actions. 

Under Reclamation’s Municipal & Industrial Water Shortage Policy, Central Valley Project municipal and industrial contractors are asked to provide specific information to calculate public health and safety numbers using the standard calculation outlined in the Central Valley Project Municipal and Industrial Water Shortage Policy Guidelines and Procedures.

The bureau continues to closely monitor hydrologic conditions and will provide regular updates in the coming months. Initial water supply allocations for the Central Valley Project will be announced in February.


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