MP-15-067

Media Contact: Erin Curtis, 916-978-5100, eccurtis@usbr.gov

For Release On: May 14, 2015

Reclamation, Water Users Reach Agreement to Provide
Water to Friant Division
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation and water users in California’s Central Valley
have forged an agreement that will bring some much-needed Central Valley Project water supplies to
farmers in the CVP’s Friant Division this summer.
“Thanks to unprecedented collaboration between districts on both the west and east sides of the San
Joaquin Valley, about 60,000 acre-feet of water will be made available as much-needed relief to our
Friant Division,” said David Murillo, Director of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region.
Recognizing the dire situation faced in the Friant Division, the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors
Water Authority and its members– senior water-right holders for waters originating in the upper San
Joaquin River basin – reached out to Reclamation and the Friant contractors to develop a collaborative
plan. Weeks of negotiations involving nearly all Friant Division contractors, the Exchange Contractors,
Westlands Water District, Reclamation and other agencies paid off in an agreement reached May 7.
“The deal has a lot of pieces, but the gist of it is that Friant contractors are going to be securing some
supplies either by purchase, exchange or time-shifting exchanges in the San Luis Reservoir,” said Friant
Water Authority Acting General Manager Eric R. Quinley. “The amount of Millerton deliveries Friant
contractors can expect to receive varies by district; however, most contractors will receive a supply that is
roughly equivalent to 5 percent of Class 1 entitlement.”
From Reclamation’s perspective, the plan would leave water that the Exchange Contractors are otherwise
entitled to in Millerton Lake, making it available for Friant Division contractors, rather than Reclamation
having to make equivalent releases down the San Joaquin River, as was done last year to provide a partial
supply to the Exchange Contractors.
Some of the water transactions that make the deal possible include a land fallowing and transfer program
put forth by the Exchange Contractors, an exchange of State Water Project and other non-CVP supplies in

San Luis Reservoir for supplies in Millerton Lake put forth by the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District and
the Kern-Tulare Water District, and an arrangement with Westlands Water District to defer delivery of
about 13,195 acre-feet until at least the fall of 2015 when critically low storage levels in San Luis
Reservoir are not of imminent concern.
Thomas Birmingham, Westlands Water District’s general manager, said “The current drought conditions
demand maximum cooperation among water agencies. Westlands entered into this agreement because it
was the right thing to do in order to enable Reclamation to make water available to farmers and
communities on the east side of the Valley.”
“We wish to thank Westlands, the Exchange Contractors and Reclamation for their willingness to make
these important agreements a reality to make at least a little water available to Friant Division Class 1
contractors, some of whom have no other water supplies or only very limited availability,” Quinley said.
“The Exchange Contractors members recognized the plight of the Friant contractors and the communities
they serve and sought a means to achieve a common goal – providing critical-needs water for east-side
CVP agriculture and communities,” said Steve Chedester, executive director for the Exchange
Contractors.
“We appreciate Westlands and the Exchange Contractors working with us, and we are grateful for
Reclamation’s expeditious cooperation in putting this complicated deal together,” said Steve Dalke,
general manager of the Kern-Tulare Water District.
“This is a great example of how various interests within the larger water community can collaborate to
find a solution to a critical water concern. Without the cooperation of all of the parties involved, this water
supply for the east side of the valley simply would not have happened. Delano-Earlimart is pleased to be a
part of the solution, and we appreciate the work of others that made this program possible,” said Dale
Brogan, general manager of Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District.
“This water supply makes a dire situation manageable and proves what what we can accomplish through
the power of collaboration,” said Eric Borba, chairman of the Friant Water Authority board. “We
sincerely appreciate the Exchange Contractors’ bold step to put forth an offer to work with us, and extend
a special thanks to Westlands for voluntarily putting the final piece on the table to seal the deal.”
The Friant Water Authority is coordinating the agreement and payment logistics for the Friant contractors.
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