In a dry year, irrigation water for agriculture crops will be in high demand, county officials said. The Bureau of Reclamation has reduced 2020 water supply allocations for CVP agriculture contractors by 50 percent this year based on an estimate of the water available for delivery.
The reduction reflects reservoir storages, lack of precipitation, and lower-than-normal snowpack in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, the last of which is currently at only 66 percent of the May 1 normal.
Colusa County, which has an annual contracted interest in 917 acre-ft. of water has also been cut by half.
The county said it will sell the remaining 457 acre-ft. (149 million gallons) to make it available for agricultural irrigation.
“The transfer and sale will be contingent on the assumption that the North of the Delta, Sacramento River Settlement Contractors’ allocation from Reclamation stays at 50 percent,” said County Counsel Markus Kroph. “Should the allocation be increased or decreased, the County and parties may negotiate different minimum terms subject to the Board’s final approval.”
Colusa County has contracted the CVP water, previously allocated to water districts, since 2005. Since 2012, the board has controlled the water as “real property” owned by the public.
“The County is required under the terms of the contract to make reasonable and beneficial use of its contract water,” Kroph said. “Accordingly, because a number of North of the Delta, Sacramento River settlement contractors have also had their allocations reduced, it would be a reasonable and beneficial use of the county’s water to transfer it to a water district that may utilized the water.”
Kroph said the water can only be sold to local water districts, and conveyed only by the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority.
The water would not be sent “south,” Kroph added.
The minimum price is $100 per acre-ft., plus reclamation costs, only if North of the Delta Sacramento River Settlement Contractors’ allocations remain at or below 75 percent. Should those contract allocations increase above 75 percent, the minimum price per acre-ft. of water would be $50 plus costs, Kroph said.
The board plans to open sealed proposals/bids at its June 2 meeting. The county anticipates revenue from the water to be $22,850 to $45,700.