Press Release from Westland Water District
Fresno, California (May 26, 2021) – In response to today’s announcement by the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the reduction of allocation to municipal and industrial water contractors from 55% to 25% of historic use, and the reduction of allocation to agricultural repayment and water service contractors from 5% to 0%, Westlands Water District notified all water users that the use of District municipal and industrial water supplies for outdoor landscape watering will be prohibited until further notice. The notice to all District water users reflects the need to conserve available water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
“Today’s announcement reflects the harsh realities of a second year of drought and the second driest year on record. Westlands recognizes the impact such a drastic curtailment will have on communities, but we are committed to working with our water users to ensure that available municipal and industrial water supplies are available to meet indoor demands,” said Tom Birmingham, Westlands general manager. “Reclamation’s inability to make water available for irrigation and ability to make only a small amount of water available for domestic use in the second year of drought is one more reminder that the State’s water supply infrastructure is inadequate. The Central Valley Project was originally designed and constructed to supply water through even extended droughts. However, post-construction increased demands, particularly resulting from ineffective implementation of environmental laws, have created a circumstance where basic human water supply needs cannot be met.”
In March, the Bureau of Reclamation announced that South-of-Delta agricultural repayment and water service contractors would have delayed access to the initial 5% allocation made in February. Recent studies conducted by the University of California, Davis, indicate that statewide economic losses as a result of California’s 2014 – 2016 drought totaled $3.8 billion, with thousands of jobs lost in the Central Valley alone and many rural drinking water wells running dry. Over the last 10 years, Westlands and other south-of-Delta agricultural service and water repayments contractors have received a 100% allocation of water only once and have received a 0% allocation two times.
About Westlands Water District
Westlands Water District is recognized as a world leader in agricultural water conservation and has served the farmers and rural communities on the west side of Fresno and Kings counties for more than five decades. As stewards of one of California’s most precious natural resources, Westlands continually invests in conservation, and champions farmers deploying innovative irrigation methods based on the best available technology.